An outlet mall, or factory outlet mall, provides eager shoppers with the opportunity to get their hot little hands on brand-name goods at rock-bottom prices. Sounds too good to be true? We can assure you it’s not.
What You Need to Know About Outlet Malls
Outlet malls began popping up in the US as early as the 1930s. At that time, factories shipped their excess or damaged products to outlet stores to sell at a discounted price. In the 1980s and 1990s, the love for outlet malls was on the rise. As the demand for bargain shopping grew, so did the construction of outlets.
By the new millennium, hundreds of outlet malls had opened throughout the US.
At any outlet mall in the country, you’re likely to find dozens of retail stores with products sold at a reduced price. A factory outlet or outlet mall can be found in the majority of states.
When it comes to outlet bargains, we’re not just talking about used goods. Customers may be able to find brand-name products discounted at anywhere from 50%-70% off at a minimum.1 The reason that brand-new products end up at a factory outlet is due to overstock, a discontinued product line, or sample inventory.
Before you embark on your first outlet experience, it helps to know what you’re getting into. Here are a few quick facts about outlet shopping to “try on for size”:2
- There are currently 230 factory outlets in the US.
- The average shopper will spend 76.4 minutes on their visit to an outlet mall.
- The average shopper will visit 1.3 stores per mall trip.
- The average shopper will spend $68.20 per visit.
3 Must-Shop Outlet Malls in the US
While there are hundreds of outlet malls to choose from across America, some stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Make sure to check out one of these highly-rated outlet malls the next time you’re in the neighborhood:
1. Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets
Located in Central Valley, New York, Woodbury Commons offers an impressive selection of 220 different outlet stores. There you’ll find premium designer brands at a discounted price, including:
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Tommy Hilfiger
- And more!
What’s not to love? New Yorkers flock from far and wide to visit the Woodbury Common Outlets, located just an hour north of New York City. The main reason for the attraction is that New Yorkers can find luxury brands with a cheaper price tag, outside of top retail stores in NYC.
Buses run daily directly from New York City Port Authority to the Woodbury Common Outlets. Shopping groups that want to take a day tour from the Big Apple can buy transportation packages directly through Gray Line NY Sightseeing, with a complimentary VIP coupon book thrown in as an added bonus.
Expert Shopper Tip: Join the Free VIP Shopper Club before you visit to take advantage of extra savings and online coupons.
2. Las Vegas Premium Outlets North
Beyond the obvious Vegas attractions of drinking, shows, and gambling galore, tourists flock to Sin City to shop at some of the best designer stores in the nation. If you’re ready to make your way off the strip, head directly to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North to check out more than 150 outlet stores, like:
- Ann Taylor
- Calvin Klein
- Kenneth Cole
- True Religion
- And more!
Las Vegas Premium Outlets North attracts bargain shoppers by the droves, located conveniently in downtown Las Vegas in an inviting outdoor setting. Guests staying in a downtown Las Vegas hotel have the option of taking a shuttle to and from the outlet mall for added convenience. Guests on the strip can take a cab directly to the outlets.
Before you book your tickets to Vegas, you may want to plan your vacation around a special shopping event at the outlet center. Depending on the month, you can take advantage of cheap prices in a February Presidents’ Day sale, deep discounts on Memorial Day weekend, or special offers in a July 4 summer sale.
Expert Shopper Tip: Come ready for a full day of shopping by wearing comfy shoes and loose clothing; bring bottled water with you to beat the Vegas heat!
3. Lodi Station Outlets
If you’re vacationing or visiting friends or family in Ohio, plan an all-day stop at Lodi Station Outlets with more than 60 different retail stores. At the outlets, you’ll find a complete selection of national retail brands, like:
- Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store
- Gap Outlet
- Bath & Body Outlet
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Vanity Fair
- And more!
Beyond basic shopping, Lodi Station is a hot attraction because it offers fun for the whole family, including trampolines, interactive fountains, and IMAX theaters. The outlet mall theme is focused on the railroad history of Ohio with two custom-made classic trains running every 15 minutes through the grounds.
Families in the area can plan a birthday party at Lodi Station, while squeezing in a little bit of shopping on the side. Whether you’re looking for bargains, entertainment, or both, Lodi Station Outlets were voted the Best of Ohio Outlet Shopping Center 2009 and 2010 for a reason.
Expert Shopper Tip: Register online to become a preferred member before you shop to receive additional discounts off outlet prices.
5 Outlet Shopping Tips for Die-Hard Bargain Hunters
If you’re planning a trip to one of the impressive outlet malls listed above, you need to shop prepared. Don’t leave home without some spending money and these handy tips:
- Gather coupons online and from local visitor’s centers in advance.
- Hunt for bargains hidden in the back of a store for even cheaper prices.
- Make a plan of action by choosing the top stores that you want to visit instead of wandering aimlessly.
- Check all merchandise well before buying to ensure it’s in the best condition.
- Find out about store return policies before making a big buy.
If you want to find the hottest bargains mall-wide, make sure to plan a visit to an outlet in off-season, outside of summer and holiday months. This will give you the chance to shop ‘til you drop in a less stressful environment to find exactly what you’re looking for.
- “Quick facts about factory outlets.” A Current Affair – Main Stories – ninemsn News. Web. 22 Feb. 2013.
- “Travel & Explore | USA | U.S. Inside/Background | Malls & Outlets: Interesting Facts.” USA travel guide – Explore the United States of America – magazineUSA.com. Web. 22 Feb. 2013.