Inexpensive outlet stores use to be the hush, hush secret of true bargain hunters. Originally most outlet stores where attached to the head office or manufacturing building where the items were made. It was then easy to sell off any overruns, cancelled orders or slightly flawed product in their own store.
As people began to realize what great deals could be got in these outlet stores some of the larger brands were approached to join together in small outlet malls.
Unfortunately once business realized how many people were willing to drive out to these outlet malls they started building outlet malls all over the place and producing product strictly for the outlet stores at a reduced quality. (High end product in their stores, low end product for their outlet malls)
If the store you are in has walls full of the same item or items in numerous sizes then chances are these things were made specifically for the outlet store and will be of lesser quality. There might be as little as 15% high end goods that have ended up in the outlet store with the rest being lower end product.
It doesn't matter if the sales tag has a high price on it and then a second lower "outlet store" price. This is done just for show and to fool the customers into thinking that they are getting a great sale.
On the other hand if you are in an outlet store where there is a large mix of items on the floor chances are you are in a genuine inexpensive outlet store and you will be seeing deep markdowns in items that had arrived from other stores.
The real inexpensive outlet stores don't tend to be in malls but in stand alone buildings usually in smaller towns or on the edge of big cities. They don't necessarily advertise and have such great deals that they survive on word of mouth.
Even though a lot of manufacturing has moved overseas find out if anything is still being manufactured in your area and go on line to see if they have sales. If there is a warehouse near by find out if they have outlet sales in their warehouse, this would be the time that they would sell off slightly damaged items, returns or older items.
Ask your favorite stores if they ever have outlet sales. Check on line. Large gift ware stores often have outlet sales just before or just after Christmas. You will probably have to drive out to some industrial park in the middle of nowhere but the savings can be substantial.
For clothing outlet stores their end of season sales can be amazing- 90% off.
One problem is that often there is no change rooms in these stores so be prepared to guess at sizes and fit or pull on clothes over top your shopping clothes. Other outlet stores might have sales only two or three times a year rather than have a store open year round.
Don't just think about high end product when you are looking for inexpensive outlet stores. Think about the items that you need day to day of good quality like socks and underwear and try to find real outlet stores that sell them at deep discounts.
You need to ask, ask, ask to find out where the real outlet stores are.
It would be great to make a list of true outlet stores through out North America. One of the bigger ones that I have heard about is the Toledo Outlet Store for Libbey Glass.
While Cambridge Towel use to have a outlet store on site they have now changed it to a yearly sale in August.
Corningware Corelle Outlet Stores are usually found in outlet mall but there sales do seem to be genuine and there is a much wider selection than is to found in most stores. They also have great coupons on-line.
In Canada Sears has Sears Outlet Stores and I can attest to the fact that they are outlet store with no guarantee of what will be in the store and amazing prices to be had.
Do you have a favorite outlet mall that is the real deal and off the beaten path? I would love to hear about it! Leave a message below and lets help each other find great deals!
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