business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that "the biggest U.S. mall owner Simon Property Group said Tuesday it is partnering with Narvar to give customers the option of dropping off returns at the concierge desk at a half-dozen of its malls, including The Mills at Jersey Gardens in New Jersey and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The service is kicking off during the holidays but will last indefinitely, the companies said.

"To start, about two dozen retail brands will be participating in the platform, the companies said, including Levi’s, Gap, Vera Bradley and Dockers. When initiating a return online, customers for these brands will now begin to see nearby Simon malls as an option, in addition to putting a return in the mail. They’ll simply bring a QR code to Simon’s guest services desk, where a Simon employee will handle the rest of the returns process."

The arrangement is similar to how Navar and other third-party returns platforms like Happy Returns are working with companies like Walgreens and FedEx to facilitate the process of sending back unwanted merchandise to online retailers.

KC's View:

Malls are seeking relevance wherever they can find it, and so I guess that serving as  a kind of real-life Island of Misfit Toys makes as much sense as anything.

Though, there's a lot of other ways to send stuff back these days.  In some ways, I'd guess that going to the mall would be my last choice, not my first.