Sep 22, 2022 - Economy

Walmart extends holiday returns window and adds curbside returns

Walmart grocery carts

Walmart is rolling out new return options ahead of the holiday shopping season. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Walmart is extending its holiday return window more than ever before and will soon accept unwanted items curbside and at doorsteps ahead of the busy shopping season.

Why it matters: The holiday shopping season got off to an early start as consumers stung by high inflation attempt to stretch their budgets, but extended return periods at Walmart and other retailers don’t typically begin until later in the season.

Driving the news: Walmart announced a "holiday guarantee" Thursday that extends returns, starting Oct. 1 and running through Jan. 31.

  • The window is starting more than a month earlier than in past years, Tom Ward, Walmart U.S. executive vice president, told Axios.
  • The world's largest retailer will roll out curbside returns in early October with plans to expand to more stores in the coming months.
  • Walmart+ members in select markets will be able to schedule to have their returns picked up from their doorstep starting in October, which also will expand to more markets throughout the season.

Meanwhile, Walmart unveiled its top toys list in late August with a new budget-friendly category — toys under $25 — and said it would have thousands of additional markdowns known as "rollbacks."

  • The retailer also announced this week that it is hiring 40,000 new workers ahead of the shopping season.

What they’re saying: Ward said extending the holiday return period to make it longer than ever can help people shop early with confidence in case they change their minds.

  • "People are thinking about their wallets. We know that folks are under a bit of pressure,” said Ward, who is also the retailer's chief e-commerce officer.
  • “This year, inflation fears are causing consumers to kick off their holiday shopping earlier to beat price hikes, with half of Americans planning to get started on buying gifts before Halloween,” Raise CEO Jay Klauminzer told Axios.

Be smart: Shopping early can save money as retailers continue to mark down prices to clear excess inventory.

  • It also can save time, but be mindful of holiday return windows so you aren’t stuck with unwanted items if you change your mind.

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