Are flexible returns policies hurting retail workers?

On our minds is the recent Fortune article arguing that flexible returns policies are hurting retail workers. Referring to the US market where commission makes out an important part of sales advisors’ pay, Fortune means that an increased competition from online retailers have pressured department stores to make their returns policies more flexible, and major retailers in the country such as Nordstrom and Macy’s have now got no time limits for returns at all. This, according to a New York Times article, has resulted in a record amount of merchandise being returned, cutting commissioned shop assistants’ pay and making their income less reliable. Unions representing affected department stores have recognised the issue and made it a priority when negotiating their contracts, with one success story being Bloomingdale’s which has reduced the time workers’ commission can be affected by returns from 180 days to 120. Read more here.

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