Island of misfit toys, UPS expects 1.3M returns in one day

Markets Associated Press

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2015, file photo, UPS employee Justin Sims prepares to place a package on a conveyor belt while unloading a container at Worldport in Louisville, Ky. UPS says it will deliver a record 1.3 million returns to retailers on Jan. 5,... dubbed “National Returns Day” and about 5 million during the first week of 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (The Associated Press)

Christmas is the season of giving, and January the month of returns.

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UPS expects to deliver 1.3 million packages back to retailers on Jan. 5, celebrated by the delivery service, but no one else, as "National Returns Day."

Surging online sales have been followed by a surge of returns by air and if UPS is right, it will be its busiest returns day ever, topping last year's 1 million.

By the end of January's first week, the Atlanta company said Tuesday that it will likely have returned 5.8 million packages, topping last year's 5 million, which was also a record.

A survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that more than $260 billion worth of merchandise was returned 2015.