Returns to increase 80% according to study

A study carried out by the Royal Mail and reported in the Retail Gazette suggests that returns will leap by 80% on the first working day of the year, as Wednesday 02 January is dubbed ‘Takeback Wednesday’.

The Royal Mail says around 75% of clothing returns occur on the first working day of the year, along with around 42% of electrical goods. While returns are a basic part of the retail experience, they’re actually intrinsic to custom confidence, with over half saying a poor returns process would prevent them from shopping with a brand again.  A Royal Mail spokesperson said, “January is the busiest time of year for returns. Having an easy way to return online purchases is a crucial part of the online shopping experience,”

“For retailers, ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is incredibly important.” It also urges retailers to consider placing the popular ‘Try before you buy’ offering at the ‘heart’ of the return’s process.

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John Lewis sales benefit from late Christmas rush

Analysts often look to John Lewis as a measure of how the High Street is faring – this week, they’ll encounter good news as the retailer says it experienced a 4.5% increase in sales in the week to 29th December, compared with the previous year. The prior week also told a similar story, with a 4.2% increase as shoppers raced to get the last of their gifts and seasonal essentials.

The head of shop trade for Scotland and the North of England, Barry Matheson said the store had seen particularly strong trading at the very last minute, explaining, “…very strong sales on Christmas Eve and a confident start to clearance sales both online and in shops”.

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HMV collapses for second time in six years

HMV has called in administrators, putting 2200 staff and 125 stores at risk due to a ‘tsunami’ of retail challenges according to owners Bilco. It blamed business rates, poor Christmas trading and a move to digital for its problems, but says that it is holding negotiations with suppliers and searching for a new buyer. Despite the collapse, the executive chairman says the brand has grown its market share month on month and was responsible for 31% of all music sales in the UK in 2018.

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