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Retail returns: Reconomy Group acquires tech platform Rebound

Outsourced waste and resource service provider Reconomy Group has acquired retail returns tech platform, Rebound.

Details of the cost of the deal have not been revealed but Reconomy said it is part of its ambition to “supercharge retail’s sustainability efforts worldwide” as the industry looks to tackle the environmental impact of surging global return volumes. According to Rebound data, retailers’ return rates have risen by 65% during the Covid crisis.

Reconomy will combine Rebound’s specialist returns platform with its existing portfolio of technology-enabled environmental services. These divisions of the group aim to help organisations tackle sustainability “in a meaningful, cost-effective way”, according to Reconomy.

Founded in 2014 by Graham Best and Phil Smith, Rebound helps brands, including Asos, Gymshark and Sweaty Betty, understand what’s being sent back to them and why, as well as providing a range of services to deal with inbound items. The company specialises in working with fashion brands, and has made moves to reduce their environmental impact through shaping new packaging, shipping and returns processing strategy.

The acquisition is the latest in a line of investments made by Reconomy, as part of its ambition to become “the leading global, asset-light circular economy platform”. Its family of companies includes reverse logistics businesses RLG and Cycleon, and UK packaging compliance scheme and data insight provider, Valpak.

Like those other businesses, Rebound will continue to operate under its own name but will share technology, data and services with the wider Reconomy Group.

Commenting on the latest acquisition, Reconomy CEO Paul Cox said: “Their innovative approach, underpinned by great technology and a focus on providing an excellent user experience, makes for a perfect fit with Reconomy.

“Sustainable returns have taken on even more importance during the pandemic and represent a challenge for many businesses looking to achieve high environmental standards. Rebound’s expertise, combined with the Reconomy Group’s existing returns activity, will offer clear, unique benefits to our customers as we continue to build an unrivalled set of services to help drive the circular economy on the global stage.”

Rebound’s Best added: “Thanks to the lockdown-inspired ecommerce surge, retail faces an environmental crisis and this is the ideal partnership to help brands diffuse that ticking time bomb.

“At Rebound we’ve always prided ourselves on helping retailers recognise the value of their returns data. Uniting with Reconomy Group’s incredible resources now means there are boundless opportunities for retailers to apply that data to tackle returns sustainably, from knowing which worldwide recycling services are available to tap into, to supercharging advanced analytics to sell items that customers actually want to keep.”

Read more about retail technology on Green Retail World

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