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An Amazon distribution center Amazon’s distribution center near Baltimore; e-commerce has given rise to a busy reverse logistics pipeline. (Photo: Amazon)

LOS ANGELES—With double-digit growth each year, e-commerce has represented an increasingly significant share of holiday retail sales in recent years. But as the volume of goods shipped from warehouses increases, the reverse is also true as the goods travel in the other direction. CBRE estimates that the total value of returned goods bought online this holiday season will range from $14 billion to nearly $29 billion, or nearly one-third of the $95 billion in sales volume predicted for 2016 by eMarketer.

A tally like that has major implications for both retail and industrial. Online merchants’ ability to recapture the value of returned merchandise depends on their management of reverse logistics. That extends to not only the speed of returns but also the costs associated with receiving them.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.

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