Zara has introduced a fee for customers who return unwanted online purchases for the first time.
The retailer, which is owned by Spanish fashion giant Inditex, has introduced a fee of €1.95 for Irish customers who want to return unwanted items purchased online starting this month.
UK buyers will also be charged £1.95 for online return orders.
According to the company’s website, the fee will be deducted from the total refunded amount. Zara also highlighted that shoppers can continue to return orders for free at any store located in the same region where the purchase was made.
Consumers will still have 30 days to return any unwanted items, and Zara will also accept return items from multiple orders in a single shipment.
The move to introduce such a fee comes in the form of an increase in the rates of return for online fashion retailers in recent months.
Since the end of the lockdown, there has been an increase in returns along with a spurt in purchases. This rapid growth has been attributed to trend-based shopping, customers buying the same item in different sizes as well as a return to socialization and events post-lockdown.
In its full-year results published last week, Boohoo reported that its adjusted earnings declined 28 percent, citing rising return rates as a major factor influencing its growth. In a statement, the fast fashion retailer explained that return rates have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels and are ahead of expectations.
This trend is expected to continue in the coming months, with Boohoo saying it expects “annualization of higher return rates year over year to reduce the level of net sales growth.”
Fellow fast fashion retailer InStyle also reported a decline in its half-year profits in December amid “higher than anticipated” return rates, though the company said that after an inconsistent first quarter, rates were beginning to return to normal.
ASOS has also reported an increase in return rates in the first half of its fiscal year, although returns are below pre-pandemic levels.
A report by IMRG and Retail Return Solutions Rebound last year showed that 23 pcs of women’s clothing are commonly returned by UK shoppers, the highest rate recorded across all retail categories.