If you aren’t already shopping at an outlet mall you may be missing out on some really great deals. The popularity of these types of stores has created quite an increase in growth over the past few years. In fact the entire layout of the outlet shopping mall center is what has caused many already existing retail malls and planning for future malls to change slightly.
The new popular trend is to use the open strip mall type approach, as opposed to the old fashioned enclosed mall that boxed shoppers inside. While there are still plenty of retail malls, and even some outlet malls, that use the old design plan, most have an open-air approach.
This design makes it easier to expand, but it also makes it easy for shoppers to stroll and then return their purchases to their car before heading to the next store. Not to mention that many outlet shopping malls also go out of their way to include immaculate landscaping, making the overall atmosphere much more inviting. Of course none of this is the main reason for the high demand and supply of outlet shopping malls.
The Rising Trend
You can now find outlet shopping centers in almost every state, not to mention around the globe. A Patagonia outlet, for example, can be found in Dublin. Gap Outlet is global. There are plenty of ways to save on your favorite brands in North America, as well as abroad. If you are not a regular outlet shopper, though, you may not be aware of what to expect.
There are some things you should know about outlet mall shopping, including what types of merchandise you can find:
- Clothing for the Entire Family
- Maternity Clothing
- Home Accents and Décor
- Purses, Shoes and Other Accessories
- Music and DVDs
- So Much More
So as you probably realize, you can also find a large variety of brands. Although years ago the brands were much more limited to some of the first outlets such as Vanity Fair and Levis, there are plenty more choices these days. You can even find some of the more boutique high end brands that no one ever thought would show up in outlet malls. Some of the more high end stores to join the outlet malls, at least in limited locations, include:
- 7 For All Mankind
- Kate Spade New York
- Juicy Couture
- Porsche Design
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Tory Burch
- True Religion Brand Jeans
- Jimmy Choo
In fact, while higher end brands once seemed to scoff at the idea of being included in an outlet mall, time has changed the way shoppers and designers view outlet malls.
Before You Go
Before you venture out to hit some outlet mall shopping for the first time, you should be aware of a few things. Outlet mall shopping isn’t quite the same as hitting the standard old traditional mall. This is obvious as more and more people plan their vacations around actually hitting outlet mall locations.
Except for maybe the infamous Mall of America in Minnesota, most shoppers get what they need from their local mall and don’t give much thought about it. Outlet mall shopping is an entirely different type of shopping experience. For that reason here are a few things to keep in mind before you go:
- Watch for deals – While the early days of outlet shopping found nothing but rock bottom prices, the market is changing a little. Some brands actually have their own line manufactured for their outlet locations. So while it is cheaper than full retail, you may have to look a little harder for those same deep discounts, at least at some stores.
- Don’t confuse retail and outlet – Coupons and other discounts you have for one may not work for the other. This also means that the return or exchange policy may not be the same. It is certainly very possible that you at least cannot take back merchandise from one to the other. There isn’t a great deal of crossover between retail and outlet, and you should just be aware of this before making any purchases. This also means while the full retail store of your favorite brand may be having a sale, outlet may not and vice versa.
- Check for quality – The majority of outlets are moving away from carrying items that are damaged or highly irregular. However this is the main reason outlets started in the first place. Don’t expect the same high quality as full retail and then be disappointed with minor flaws or other issues you wouldn’t normally get from your favorite brands. Remember, with great savings there is usually some sort of trade off.
So how can you find your favorite brands at outlets? It’s easy really, and you have two options. Browse for outlet malls in your state or some place you may be visiting. You can also do a search by brand and search to see if your favorite brands do have outlet locations.