A 3-inch chunk of black plastic is the hottest new accessory at Bloomingdale’s.
The tags, fixed to high-fashion garments in highly visible places, are the department store’s new strategy to keep crafty shoppers from buying clothes, wearing them, and then returning them. Once buyers remove the tags, Bloomingdale’s, a unit of Macy’s (M), won’t take back the garments.
Shoppers, for example, may find a “b-tag” on a $1,100 red leather dress along with a stern warning not to remove it and expect to return it.
So-called wardrobing is a relatively big problem in the apparel business. Retailers suspect that about 3 percent of returns last year involved used clothes, stolen merchandise, or some other form of fraud, according to the National Retail Federation. In a recent survey, 65 percent of retailers said shoppers had returned used products, while 97 percent said they had processed returns on stolen goods.