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Wal-Mart moves to speed up returns process

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Oct. 9 that it will offer a new service called Mobile Express Returns that combines the retail giant's app with visits to its physical stores.

The service will cover products sold and shipped by Walmart.com upon launch in early November before expanding to in-store purchases in early 2018. The company added that it is developing a similar system for returns of products sold by third-party sellers on its online platform.

Mobile Express Returns is a two-step process that will be available at Wal-Mart's more than 4,700 store locations. First, customers use the Walmart app to select the transaction and related items to be returned. Next, they visit a Mobile Express Lane at a nearby store to return items in person. Refunds are then credited to customers' payment accounts as early as the following day.

The company also plans to add an option in the app that would allow customers to receive instant refunds without requiring an in-store visit. This option could become available as early as December, initially covering select household products including shampoo and color cosmetics.