When it comes to saving money on designer clothing and accessories, outlet stores have long been the top choice for budget-minded shoppers with a taste for quality. Currently, there are around 200 different outlet malls located across the United States, and retail statistics show that the average outlet mall sells items from 300 different retailers.
Since the original outlet malls began appearing in the Eastern United States during the 1930s, their offerings have changed considerably. Although the first outlet stores did offer substantial discounts, product inventories consisted of damaged or irregular items. Basically, these malls were literally “outlets” through which retailers could make money off cosmetically flawed, but otherwise fine products.
The trend of selling irregular or damaged merchandise via outlet stores continued through the 1970s, when Vanity Fair opened the country’s first outlet store near Reading, PA. The Vanity Fair outlet mall was the first to feature multiple retailers. It was also the first outlet retailer to sell regular, undamaged merchandise.
As we all know, the reason for the continued popularity of retailers like Coach Outlet stores is the discounts they offer. According to Market City, some outlet stores have been known to offer 50% to 70% discounts off regularly priced items. Perhaps the best feature of outlet malls is the discount on designer brand clothing and accessories.
At regular department stores, sales on designer brand merchandise are far less common than on other items. This is because only the designers have the authority to control the pricing of their brands. Thus, designer name products almost never qualify for regular store-wide sales. This means when department stores like Macy’s or Sears run a 20% off sale on accessories, brands like Polo, Coach, or Calvin Klein are typically excluded.
Unlike mall department stores, designer outlet stores offer designer brand discounts every day. This means you can purchase the same handbags at Coach Outlet stores for considerably less than you can at Macy’s or Sears. Although discounts obviously vary from store to store and item to item, outlets typically discount designer merchandise by 20% to 40%.
With the holidays only two months away, now is the time to start making your shopping list. It is also a great time to begin checking out what the designer outlets have to offer. But you better hurry, because the most coveted name brand clothing and accessories are always the first to fly off the shelves.