UPS expects millions of holiday gift return shipments

It may be early November, but UPS is already preparing to handle millions of holiday gift returns, as online shopping drives increased returns.

The Sandy Springs-based shipping giant said this week it expects to handle more than 1 million return shipments a day in December.

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There are two spikes in returns, according to UPS: One is the week before Christmas driven by retailer promotions, and another comes after the holidays, on Jan. 2, which UPS calls “National Returns Day.”

On Jan. 2, UPS expects to handle 1.9 million return packages, up 26 percent from the peak day last holiday season.

“Gone are the days when returns were isolated to January,” said UPS chief marketing officer Kevin Warren in a written statement. Consumers are now “sending packages back to retailers all season long.”