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Busy day for returns at stores

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Retailers are hoping the fifth busiest shopping day of the year -- the day after Christmas -- will help make up for a slow holiday season.

Last year, retailers lost $264 billion in returned merchandise, according to the National Retail Federation. The Better Business Bureau says about one-third of people who received holiday gifts will return at least one of them. But with more returns come stricter return policies.

Some of the items most commonly returned are clothing, toys, watches and jewelry.

Retail analysts say consumers may want to hold off before bringing back those holiday gifts. Stores will be re-stocking in the next few days and prices are likely to drop.

"If you're getting a 30 percent discount or above, you're getting a good deal, but when you see discounts of 70 percent off or 75 percent off that's an indication the store is losing money. It's a good deal for you but not for the retailer," said retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar.

Whether you shop immediately after Christmas or soon after, major discounts are likely to be offered by retailers. Also, buy one, get one free is likely.

No receipt? The return policies vary from store to store.

Experts say it's not required by law to offer returns or exchanges, but companies usually offer them as a customer service.

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