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Bloomingdale's generous return policy has made it a target for "wardrobing"—wherein people buy an item for a special event, wear it once, then return it. They aren't the only ones, either, with a National Retail Federation survey finding that 65 percent of retailers have been affected by the practice. Now the store is fighting back with a clever new tagging procedure meant to deter wannabe return artists.
Bloomberg reports that Bloomindale's has begun a Black Tag program to mark commonly wardrobed items like prom dresses. The pieces are tagged with a highly-visible plastic black tag after being purchased; once it is removed, the garment is no longer returnable. Shoppers are advised both in store and online about the new tagging procedure; the website's text reads, "Please note that this dress will be delivered with a black b-tag attached, with instructions for removal included. If the b-tag is removed, the dress cannot be returned."
According to the article, wardrobing is increasingly common among younger (more financially-strapped?) customers. "They are going to alienate customers that abuse the policy, and I don't think that is so bad," said a retail consultant.
· Bloomingdale's Black Tags Curb $8.8 Billion Fraud Bill [Bloomberg via BOF]
· Are You Happy, Showroomers? Try-On Fees Are a Thing Now [Racked]