Total online holiday sales are forecast to jump by 40% this year to $234.9 billion. Of those holiday purchases, as much as $70.5 billion are expected to be returned, according to CBRE. That could create challenges for retailers as a surge of products are pushed back into the supply chain—a process commonly known as reverse logistics.

Unfortunately, for retailers returns are not the most cost-effective of processes. Reverse logistics costs amount to 59% of the original sales price of the item, CBRE says. 

Reverse logistics will play an increasingly important role in the industrial space as e-commerce sales continue to flourish. They will likely backfill the class B industrial space left behind by companies that want to upgrade to tier one buildings, for starters. CBRE estimates that as much as 400 million square feet could be used to process returns over the next five years.

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Leslie Shaver

Les Shaver has been covering commercial and residential real estate for almost 20 years. His work has appeared in Multifamily Executive, Builder, units, Arlington Magazine in addition to and Real Estate Forum.