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Why Do Lingerie Retailers Resell Returned Underwear?

Knickers by Playful Promises

In this month's Why do Lingerie Retailers…? feature, we asked Catherine the ever-popular question “Why do returned goods go back on the shelves?” If you’ve ever wondered why lingerie retailers resell things other customers may have tried on or purchased, Catherine is here to explain:

So you sold a 34DD bra to someone who was a 32E and hopeful, and it didn’t work out and they sent it back. Why is it now back on the shelves?

Money. Buying fashion online is HARD. I pretty much only shop online and I’m forever sending stuff back. In the UK, a 10% profit margin is considered to be doing pretty well (I think supermarkets are doing more like 1%). Figure in an average return rate of 10-25% (which is not uncommon in fashion), and basically, if you sent all that returned stuff to charity rather than putting it back out, you’d go bankrupt. Not that that’s any excuse for reselling stuff that’s dirty, because the store should check things, but the default setting is to sell returned stock again.

This is the reason why some shops don't let you try on knickers, and why we’d really like you have something on underneath when trying on our pants. And also, dear god, please don’t send us garments back with stains. Apart from anything else, it makes us compete on euphemisms for bodily fluids, and some of us are pretty crude to start with and really don’t need your encouragement!

Do you have any questions for Catherine to answer? Send them to [email protected]!

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.