Retailers ready for returns

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day is a time of family and giving, but for many the day after Christmas is a time to cash in gift cards, search for holiday clearance sales and return merchandise.

Earl Preachers, manager for Wal-Mart Supercenter in Andalusia, said doors will open at 6 a.m. for the store and lanes 10, 11, 12 and 13 will be open to accept returned items.

“A lot of folks will still be shopping to take advantage of clearance items from the Christmas season,” he said. “It is going to be a big day for us and we expect a lot of people.”

Preachers said receipts are preferable when bring a return to Wal-Mart, but not necessary.

“We usually ask to have a receipt, but they do not always have to possess a receipt,” he said. “I know people do not always get a receipt with the gift. We can simply do an exchange, but we do ask the item be in the original packaging.”

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Holiday Returns Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, many gift givers try to meet retailers halfway by attaching gift receipts with packages. Nearly 60 percent (59.6 percent) of shoppers said they include either the original receipt or a gift receipt at least some of the time, slightly higher than 57.5 percent who said the same last year. In addition, the survey found that nearly nine out of 10 Americans (87.2 percent) feel retailers’ return policies are fair.

While retailers view returns as a cost of doing business, most gift recipients don’t return a thing. According to the survey, two-thirds (65.2 percent) of gift recipients did not return any gifts last holiday season.

Maggie Givens, manager of Goody’s in Andalusia, said her store has made a concerted effort to provide gift receipt for purchases this year and she hopes the measure helps things move smoothly when doors open at 7 a.m. today.

“I will have extra people on staff that will be able to do returns,” she said. “As long as people keep their receipt it will be a smooth process. They can bring the original receipt or the gift receipt, which we have given this year. We will have big signs placed above registers to designate returns. We will have one register for returns with receipt and one for returns without.”

Givens added that early bird shoppers can take advantage of door buster sales from 7 a.m. until noon and the store will remain open until 10 p.m. today.

Dennis Cockrell, manager of J.C. Penney in Andalusia, said his store will be ready for returns today and special deals will be available during door buster sales available from 5:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“We will be doing returns at any register, but customers who are returning shoes or fine jewelry we ask they return those items to the respective department,” he said. “We do prefer customers bring a receipt, but without a receipt customers will receive a merchandise return voucher. Customers who have a gift receipt will be given a gift card to be used at any J.C. Penney store.”

J.C. Penney in Andalusia will remain open until 8 p.m.