Executive Briefings

What Does Walmart Do With All the Merchandise Returned After the Holiday Buying Season?

While much is being written about expected holiday sales, the flip side of retail returns is also an interesting business, with consumers returning about $264bn worth of merchandise, or almost 9 percent of total sales, according to industry estimates. But, what happens to all that unwanted or defective merchandise that doesn't make it back on the retailer shelf?

At Wal-Mart, these castoff products make their way back to one of six regional return centers across the U.S., like the large return warehouse in Bentonville. With more than 4,000 stores in the U.S., each return center serves roughly 680 stores. 
Wal-Mart's returns are relatively small despite the company's liberal return policy, according to a company spokesman. That said, merchandise castoffs are a business entity of their own for the retail giant.

Raul Castilla, director of reverse logistics at Wal-Mart, said each year the retailer processes 45 million cases of returned merchandise through its regional return centers. He said 40 percent of that volume will come through in January and February following the hectic holiday buying season.

Over the next couple of months, Castilla said Wal-Mart adds seasonal help in its return centers as well its stores. Inside each massive warehouse, Wal-Mart sorts the returned products into four tiers: vendor for credit; donation to United Way; recycle; or landfill.

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Keywords: returns initiatives, reverse supply chain, retail returns, supply chain management, value chain, logistics management, 

At Wal-Mart, these castoff products make their way back to one of six regional return centers across the U.S., like the large return warehouse in Bentonville. With more than 4,000 stores in the U.S., each return center serves roughly 680 stores. 
Wal-Mart's returns are relatively small despite the company's liberal return policy, according to a company spokesman. That said, merchandise castoffs are a business entity of their own for the retail giant.

Raul Castilla, director of reverse logistics at Wal-Mart, said each year the retailer processes 45 million cases of returned merchandise through its regional return centers. He said 40 percent of that volume will come through in January and February following the hectic holiday buying season.

Over the next couple of months, Castilla said Wal-Mart adds seasonal help in its return centers as well its stores. Inside each massive warehouse, Wal-Mart sorts the returned products into four tiers: vendor for credit; donation to United Way; recycle; or landfill.

Read Full Article

Keywords: returns initiatives, reverse supply chain, retail returns, supply chain management, value chain, logistics management,