For most retailers, November and December are the biggest shopping months of the year. But after the holidays, a lot of merchandise inevitably ends up going back to the store. Some of those bad gifts get returned to the store shelves, but many can't be resold right away. That's where companies like Pittsburgh-based GENCO ATC come in. They specialize in reverse logistics.
"It's finding another use or another life for a product that's been through a consumer purchase or offered for consumer purchase, and was never sold, and finding a home for that product in a sustainable manner," said GENCO Senior Vice President David Vehec.
He said that it's estimated that about 10 percent of holiday purchases end up being returned. That may not sound like a huge number but, "when you think about the retailers, and how much they sell in billions from the top retailers, you're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of returns," said Vehec.
The week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the year for retailers, because of people returning and exchanging merchandise and looking for post-holiday bargains. But it's after that that business starts to pick up for GENCO.
"The returns start trickling in in December, but really January and February are the peak return times for the return process as we handle it in our warehouses," said Vehec.
GENCO works with more than 150 customers, including many Fortune 500 manufacturers and retailers, including Sears, Kmart, Target, Dell, and HP. Based in Pittsburgh, they employ more than 10,000 people across the U.S. and report more than $1.5 billion in annual sales.