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December 21, 2009


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I wouldn't bother with an outlet store without a coupon--they coupon all the time, and often the additional discount is good on top of other discounts the store is offering. As you've noted, most are not true outlets; the tag on the clothes often says "outlet," so there are definitely items that never saw the light of day in the full-price retail store.

We travel a fair amount along the East Coast. We tend to go after outlet malls that are along the way over the course of our travels; not only for the variety of discount retailers, but to take advantage of sales tax breaks (not charged on clothing in some of our neighboring states).

I don't mind stopping at outlet stores, i have noticed that the quality is not as nice as you would find in a regular store.

I always hit the clearance racks first and work my way to the front of the store.

I read an interesting magazine article a few months ago (can't find it and can't remember who linked to it) on the psychology of outlet stores.

The bulk of the items you'll find there are not manufactured up to the brand's normal standards - they all have special lines that are made just a little more cheaply to sell at their outlets. The standard-quality goods are generally things that didn't sell at normal retail outlets.

The article also discussed location - the outlets aren't just on the outskirts b/c land is so cheap. It also serves as a motivator - "I traveled all this way, I may as well buy something and make my trip worthwhile."

Interesting comment David, and both of your points make total sense. On the few occasions I've gone to outlet malls I've been disappointed with the quality of the stuff but always put it down to "the good stuff has already sold".

I bought a jacket at a Nike outlet once, approx 10 yrs ago. It was a nice bicycling jacket in my hard to find (small) size--in fact, I still have it! But as I recall, it wasn't inexpensive.

I haven't shopped at outlets since then. There aren't any nearby unless I want to drive several hours, so it doesn't seem worth it. The outlets that are nearby are almost of exclusively lower quality stores that I wouldn't bother to shop at anyway (a Payless shoes outlet! An Old Navy outlet. Oboy!) The exception is Coach which seems to have papered Midwest with their "luxury" stores, but unfortunately I can't get excited about their overpriced conspicuous consumption products. Ugh.

Every other year or so I'll be at a ski resort where there's an outlet nearby, but when I've stopped in on the storesI've been underwhelmed by what they're offering. My impression about outlets is they carry lots of poor quality merchandise and it's unattractive/inconvenient to shop there because of the weird locations and the fact that you never know if they'll have anything at all worth your time to visit the place.

I'd rather shop at some high quality stores in my local mall. But unfortunately there aren't any. Sorry, local economy, I shop online.

Shopping online is the new 'outlet'. Many (electronics) manufacturers have a refurbished items section on their website which is exactly what an outlet used to be.

As far as clothes go, it still helps to try something on to check out its fit. But if you know what you want and what size you need, then shopping online is almost always cheaper than shopping in a store.

Essentially today's outlet stores are no better than a shopping mall for people that like to look for name brands under the guise that the prices are cheaper. Occasionally the consumer wins, but like Vegas...stores aren't charities, they're there to make money off of you.

I agree with Otis. I find the best deals online for almost everything, but I buy my clothes in person. For clothes I shop at Kohl's with coupons, JCPenny's and Dillard's during sales with coupons, and thrift shops. My husband keeps it simple and buys almost all his clothes at Kohl's. I've never been able to get the best prices or great quality from Outlet malls...

'Here, here!' for online shopping :)

Other things I usually buy at Target. And for the slightly nicer stuff (ie, work), JCP or Kohl's.

It doesn't seem like too many people like outlet stores. If you get a chance there is a premium outlet store in Orlando FL next to Lake Buena Vista that provides great deals for higher end items. I do not go shopping very often but when I do I usually load up on everything that I need and I go to this outlet. 3 pairs of Cole Haan shoes for 400 dollars that are approximately 800 in stores, Hugo suits for 1500 and sell for 4000 in stores, Spent 300 at RL on 5 polos, three pairs of pants, and two pairs of shorts that usually sell for 750 in stores. Ok, so I know that I am able to spend much less on these types of items at Target but I have my own reason for buying these brands. I guess if you want to buy the higher end products and don't want to spend a bundle then these are great places to get discounts at. Also I have recently been purchasing TV's from best buy under the open box area. I am sure after Super Bowl they will have a large inventory of these. I received my TV's for about half price just because the box was open. That was half off the sale price.

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