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The fast fashion retailer Zara’s owner, Inditex SA, will begin charging Spanish customers for returning online purchases, following a policy it had already implemented in the majority of its other markets.

In Spain, customers must now pay €1.95 to return a purchase unless they deliver it to a physical store or a third-party drop-off location, where returns continue to be free. According to a corporate representative, the charge is applicable to all Inditex brands, which include Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti.

The largest clothes retailer in the world, located in A Coruna, Spain, began charging for returns in early 2022 in nations where it has a smaller presence than in Spain, such as the UK, France, and the US. As of July 2022, Spain represented for 14.2 percent of the group’s total sales.

At 9:36 a.m. in Madrid, Inditex increased as much as 1.7 percent to €29.3. This year, the shares have increased by 4.5 percent.

As retailers looked to control expenses in the face of global inflation that was increasing, the movement to remove free returns gained popularity across the apparel industry last year. After reaching double digits throughout the summer, Spain’s inflation rate was among the highest in Western Europe during the first half of 2022. Since then, it has decreased, falling below most other countries in the region in January to 5.8 percent.

Undoubtedly, the plan had caused retailers problems from the start because returns are expensive due to the labour involved in having them shipped back, examined, and placed up for sale.

Large competitors of Inditex, such Hennes & Mauritz AB and Uniqlo from Fast Retailing Co., in Spain charge for online returns.

By Clara Hernanz Lizarraga