Shopping following Christmas? Here’s your guide

After the presents are unwrapped and stockings unstuffed, shoppers will head back to local retailers to return those gifts they really didn’t want.

Retailers are estimated to bring in more than $655 billion in revenue — and a portion of that will be spent in the late days of December. Local retailers are bracing for a post-holiday influx of business, as shoppers come back to stores to return gifts and cash in their gift cards, according to the National Retail Federation.

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow slightly this year compared to 2015, bringing in an estimated $22 billion statewide. In 2015, holiday sales resulted in more than $21 billion in revenue throughout the state, according to the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

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If indicators are correct, this won’t be the first year retail sales increase after the holidays. Retail sales rose in January — an increase of about 1.4 percent over the same month in 2015, according to the National Retail Federation.

“The foundation for growth is there, and January’s increase is a step in the right direction for retailers,” said Matthew Shay, the president and CEO of the NRF, about last January’s growth. “Against the backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook and challenges in the industrial and financial sector, this is a solid development.”

More than one-third of Americans will return at least one holiday gift this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

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Gordon Gough, the president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, told this newspaper that Ohio retailers will still do quite well in the days and weeks following the holiday season.

“They’ll come in to purchase items with gift cards,” Gough said. “Or, they’re wanting to come in and get some sales and deals after the holidays.”

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A recent study from Deloitte showed return policies can impact where consumers want to shop. About 67 percent of consumers want to shop at a store that has refund options other than just store credit — and 55 percent of consumers want return policies to have a longer time-frame to get the item back to the store.

An official for the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons said they’ve already seen thousands of shoppers during the holiday, and don’t expect that number to drop off right away.

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“We expect to finish the season strong as thousands more visit each property following Christmas to cash in their gift cards and take advantage of the great deals offered by our celebrated retailers,” said Shelley Sloan, regional marketing manager at Washington Prime Group.

Online shopping also will be impacted by people who didn’t like that gift they received for the holidays. About 82 percent of consumers want free online returns, and 69 percent of them want the ability to return products at physical stores if they don’t want to shop it back.

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Consumers can make sure they get their monies worth on returns, according to the Better Business Bureau, which offers the following tips:

• Keep your receipts. If you’re purchasing a gift, ask for a gift receipt.

• Know when the return policy expires. Retailers typically have a certain time frame that they allow items to be returned.

• If you an electronic, don’t remove it from the box. Some stores will not accept returns unless the merchandise is in its original packaging.

• Ask if there is a fee for shipping an online purchase back to the retailer. An alternative might be returning it to a local store for free.

The Dayton Daily News is committed to bringing you continued coverage during the holiday season. Follow reporter Kara Driscoll on social media and sign up for our daily business newsletter.

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