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Part 1: Are Outlet Malls a Scam?

Part 1: Are Outlet Malls a Scam?
Lindsay Lee

It has recently come to light that, as outlet shoppers, we have been fooled. Many stores are offering merchandise at low prices, but without telling you the real story. A significant number of outlet stores are actually selling lower quality merchandise without alerting the customer. According to SmartMoney, 82% of merchandise is made to be sold at the outlets. Some items have never even been in a retail location. Companies can also create private label brands, sell them at the outlet, and advertise artificial pricing, which is ultimately misleading. How do you avoid falling into this trap? Follow these steps for the best defense.

Check the Labelsoutlet 1 clothes

In some stores, finding outlet-exclusive merchandise is as easy as checking the label. At Banana Republic, the label will have three dots next to the name. At Nine West, the style name on the box will end in “O” for outlet. Other stores may plainly list “outlet” or “factory store” on their tags. However, this is only part of the battle.

The other problem includes reading the product content on the label. For instance, a cashmere wrap for half-off may sound like a great deal. However, is it 100% pure cashmere? Many stores incorporate synthetics into products to make it less expensive. Try to steer clear of polyester, rayon, and acrylic. The best quality garments will be made of pure cotton, wool, silk and cashmere. Be sure to read the product label before blindly trusting the advertisements.

Know Your Stores

A large portion of stores call themselves Factory Stores, which is your first clue in realizing that their merchandise is outlet-exclusive. J. Crew, Nike, and Gap are known as Factory Stores. Another clue is if the store has an online presence. Last Call, Off Fifth, and Nordstrom Rack are all guilty of this. When stores have authentically passed down overstocks and sale items from the retail store, there would not be enough inventory to justify an online presence. They would need to guarantee enough inventory to put online to sell, which could only be done through private-label brands manufactured for the outlets.

In general, higher end brands, such as Prada, Gucci, and Diane Von Furstenburg offer legitimate merchandise at great prices. Because these brands come out with a new collection each season, their last season merchandise has to go somewhere. You can typically find runway pieces at a big savings because the designers are moving on to the next collection.

Lastly, make sure you realize that all stores located in outlet malls are not always outlet locations. Stores like Old Navy and American Eagle regularly disguise themselves in outlet locations, but carry identical merchandise and the same pricing as regular retail locations.

Don't Be Fooledoutlet 1 shoes

A large part of the shopping experience is the thrill of finding a good deal. However, many of these deals are misleading and causing you to think the item is a better value than it truly is. Take, for instance, the infamous Buy One, Get One 50% off deal. If the two items you are purchasing are of equal pricing, you are only getting 25% off your total. The more difference in the pricing of the two items you have, the less of a discount you will be receiving.

Another trap is the clearance sale, with items marked up to 80% off. At this point, you must realize that  prices are not genuine and simply manufactured so you think it is a great deal. Before you purchase anything, think about if you would buy the same item at a retail store at that price. Ignore the high percentage off or gifts with purchase. Those are simply there to distract you from the quality of the product. You also have to ask yourself how well-made the item can be if it is on sale for that steep of a discount.

Now that you have uncovered the secrets of outlet shopping, you can be more aware of your purchases. Instead of buying lesser quality merchandise, you can look out for authentic, well-made pieces at a discount. Although these quality items are rare, it becomes more of a search in finding a good buy. On your next trip to the outlets, be sure to heed these warnings so you can use your money wisely.


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