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Gifter Beware: J.Crew, Asos Among Top Holiday ‘Returns’ Thrift Stores Receive

Retailers aren’t the only ones raking it in this holiday season.

As revelers rid themselves of regretful impulse buys and “gifting fails,” thrift and consignment stores receive a deluge of never-worn, new-with-tags merchandise, ThredUp said last week.

The secondhand e-tailer is certainly no stranger to the so-called January “purge surge.” It fields more than 250,000 brand-new items every January, it said, or 60 percent more than its standard monthly haul.

The list of “most purged holiday gifts” is curiously specific—see: cut-out shirts from Lululemon and ruffle dresses by Banana Republic—but it provides an intriguing snapshot of what Americans are buying, giving and ultimately rejecting.

Topping the ranks are cardigans from J.Crew, which see a 442 percent spike this time of year, ThredUp said. The classic toppers are followed by maxi-dresses from Asos (296 percent), the aforementioned Banana Republic ruffle dresses (225 percent), swimsuits from the floundering Victoria’s Secret (208 percent), denim by James Jeans (203 percent), Nike sneakers (201 percent), Lululemon’s cut-out shirts (186 percent), ruffle tops from Express (166 percent), T-shirts from Forever 21 (126 percent) and those red-soled heels by Christian Louboutin (106 percent).

Would-be gift givers, on the other hand, will find safe bets in Everlane (“the brand with least regret, two years running,” ThredUp said), Prada (“designer brand with the least regret”) and Citizens of Humanity (“denim she’s likely to love.”) Other brands ThredUp regularly receives without their tags attached, meaning the “recipient is likely to want to love them,” include Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, REI, L.L. Bean, Gucci, Coach and Ugg.

Americans aren’t shy about returning merchandise directly to retailers, either, of course. Businesses handled $260 billion in returns in 2017, or 8 percent of all purchases, according to the National Retail Federation. The number creeps up to 10 percent around the holidays, it added.