Who doesn’t like a bargain? I know I do. And anytime I go to the beach on vacation, I head for the outlet malls. One-stop shopping for everything from clothes, shoes and handbags to housewares and home furnishings to luggage and more, with labels I know and trust. And at prices that can’t be beat.
Well, even though I write about consumer issues every day, I have to admit that I was clueless that much of the merchandise sold at outlet stores is manufactured exclusively for them, and may be of lesser quality than the merchandise sold at non-outlet retail locations. The industry says it’s responding to customer demand for merchandise that’s similar to what’s sold in the regular retail stores, but at a lower price point. Just as long as you know that, you can make sure you’re satisfied with the price you’re paying for what you’re getting.
While I seriously doubt that my outlet shopping will stop, I now consider myself a better informed consumer; I’ll certainly be a little more selective when I make outlet purchases. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up in my research. I hope they’ll help you be a more selective shopper, too.
There’s no question that outlets can offer a good deal. To ring up real savings, though, you have to know what they’re selling — and what you’re buying.