Retailers report few gift returns

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2007

The people of Brookhaven apparently are satisfied with theirChristmas gifts this year, as several businesses in the cityreported little to no returns on Wednesday – the official beginningof the gift return season.

“We’ve had a few returns, but nothing really big,” said RadioShack Manager Kevin Harvey. “You always tend to prepare for theworst when it comes to returns, but almost everybody who has beenin here today has just been looking for tech support. Most of ourreturns have just been because of duplicates.”

Harvey, who said his store’s biggest sellers over the holidayswere GPS (Global Positioning System) items, suggested that returnswere light because people were pleased.

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“GPS is what we sold the most of, and everybody is gonna likethose,” he said. “We’ve had no complaints on any of the GPS systemswe sold.

“In the electronics world, it’s becoming easier to shop,” Harveycontinued. “With as much television advertising as everything getsand with the Internet and all the research people can do, there’sreally no guessing when you shop anymore. It’s easy to tell whatpeople want, and everyone knows what to buy for Christmas.”

Sears Assistant Manager Stanley Dixon also pointed to the saleof likable items, particularly a 46-inch Hitachi television, as areason for this year’s return drought.

“The sales volume on those televisions was so high nationwide,”he said. “On Black Friday, we sold every one in the store by 7a.m.”

Dixon said very few items had been returned to Sears, althoughthere had been three or four gift exchanges.

The sale of gift cards may also be a contributing factor to thisyear’s present lack of gift returns.

Linda Reeves, assistant store manager for The Home Depot, saidher store had sold $19,000 in gift cards during the week beforeChristmas alone. Throughout Wednesday, only one item was returnedto The Home Depot.

Ken Dunn, manager of Ace Hardware, has had similar good luck,though the reasons why are a mystery to him.

“I really don’t know why we haven’t had more returns,” he said.”I don’t know if people did more selective shopping this year orwhat.”

Dunn said he was expecting to deal with returns throughout theday on Wednesday, but the only returns he encountered were “everyday, run-of-the-mill type stuff,” with almost none of the returnsbeing gift items.

Even though few gifts were returned to stores on Wednesday, itwas not because Brookhavenites were not out and about.Post-Christmas shopping continued in earnest, even in the midst ofwhat many national media are calling a weak Christmas spendingyear.

“We’re always busy,” Harvey said. “We haven’t had to take backmany returns, and today we’ve been selling accessories … mostlyfor items that were not bought here, because we’re pretty good atincluding the accessories; of course, we are an accessory store.We’ve been selling the things that Santa forgot and helping peoplemake things work.”

The after-Christmas shopping spree was alive and well in Searsas well, where a store-wide sale that lasts through Friday keptbusiness flourishing there.

“It’s been a great day,” Dixon said. “There’s always a sale onsomething in here, and today, it’s brought people in.”

Even though Christmas has come and gone, The Home Depot manageda good business day by selling Christmas items for 50 percentoff.

“We have a lot of lights and decorations that we’d like to getrid of,” Reeves said. “Christmas is pretty much over for us; we’rebreaking out our winter storage items.”