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Store figures out how to stop people 'borrowing' clothes for event and returning them later

Bloomingdale’s in New York has come up with a new tag that is so visible, you can’t possibly wear the clothes out until you remove it.

What, this old thing? I just borrowed it for the night.
What, this old thing? I just borrowed it for the night.
Image: ballgown via Shutterstock

NOW, WE’RE SURE you don’t do this but there is a phenomenon reported by clothing retailers where some customers ‘borrow’ expensive items for big events, returning them the next day.

(Accompanied by excuses along the line of, “It was a present and it didn’t fit”, etc.)

Iconic New York department store Bloomingdale’s has figured out a way to stop that happening in their outlets.

The retailer is putting three-inch black plastic tags in visible places on garments so the wearer can’t easily conceal them, reports Cotten Timberlake and Renee Dudley at Bloomberg. Once the clunky tag is removed, shoppers aren’t allowed to return the item.

The practice of buying an item with the intention of wearing it once and returning it is called “wardrobing.”

The “wardrobing” tends to happen most with big-ticket items like debs dresses and other formalwear, even off-the-peg bridalwear.

The problem cost the industry $8.8 billion last year in the US alone, according to the National Retail Federation.

But another large US retailer, Nordstrom, told Bloomberg that it didn’t plan on emulating Bloomingdale’s strategy.

“Our experience is that if you treat the customer with respect, they respect you back,” spokesman Colin Johnson said.

- Ashley Lutz

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