Study Shows Merchandise Returns Account for $351 Billion in Lost Sales; Almost a Large as the National Deficit

Tustin, California, UNITED STATES

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Appriss Retail, the industry leader in retail performance improvement solutions, today released its 2017 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Organized Retail Crime survey to provide insights for retailers to minimize the effect of return fraud and abuse on their business.

According to the survey, total merchandise returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers. This size is overwhelming; merchandise returns are close to the estimated 2017 federal budget deficit of $400+ billion. Retail fraud and abuse accounted for $17.6 to $22.8 billion in the United States. And return fraud averages 9.4% of all Buy-Online-Return-In-Store (BORIS) ecommerce returns. “It is critical to understand how returns and return fraud reduce net sales and contribute to total loss – clear causes of retail performance issues,” said Krishnan Sastry, president of Appriss Retail. “The results within this report offer the industry’s best view of the subject of merchandise returns, as well as potential fraud and abuse.”

The extreme loss of profit is causing retailers to offset the negative business impact by raising prices and reducing costs, which often means a loss of jobs. Last year alone, return fraud cost U.S. retailers and workers between 596,000 and 775,000 jobs. And the cost to each state is steep also. Retail revenue losses are costing states a total of $1.1 billion to $1.4 billion in lost sales taxes.

Appriss Retail’s report evaluates the following:

  • Return Rate by Retail Category;
  • Analysis of Return Fraud by Receipt and Channel;
  • Loss Impact of Return Fraud and Abuse;
  • Holiday Returns and Return Fraud;
  • Lost Tax Impact and Jobs due to Return Fraud;
  • Examples of Return Fraud.

Preventing fraud and abuse is a major challenge, but retailers are also looking to improve the shopping experience and differentiate the consumer experience during the return process. The ability to offer ecommerce consumers more flexible and lenient returns, while still mitigating the risk of fraud and abuse is critical.  Appriss Retail can help address such challenges through a return optimization solution called Verify®. It is designed to distinguish and deter the one percent of consumers that are fraudulent and abusive, allowing the remaining good 99 percent to enjoy a great shopping experience.

 For a complete copy of the report, please go to

 About Appriss Retail

Appriss Retail provides artificial intelligence-based solutions to help retailers protect margin, unlock sales, and cut shrink.  With more than 20 years of retail data science expertise, the company’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform generates advanced analytical insights and real-time decisions that drive action throughout the organization, including operations, finance, marketing, and loss prevention.  Its performance-improvement solutions yield measurable results with significant return on investment among retail store, ecommerce, and inventory functions.  Appriss Retail serves a global base of leading specialty, apparel, department store, hard goods, big box, grocery, pharmacy, and hospitality businesses in more than 100,000 locations (brick and mortar and online) in 45 countries across six continents.  For more information about Appriss Retail, visit

 Appriss Retail was created through the merger of The Retail Equation and Sysrepublic.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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