Are You Really Getting a Good Deal when Shopping at Outlet Stores?

My wife and I get excited to visit our local outlet mall when we have the extra money. We find deals and bargains on clothes that we wouldn’t normally be able to find in our local mall.  Overall, it seems we get a lot more for our money at some major name brand clothing stores.

However, I think a savvy shopper will recognize many of the items in an outlet store would never be found in a typical mall store.  Well, you don’t have to be too savvy. Some items are manufactured specifically for the outlet mall store and you can see that on the tag.

Getting a Good Deal when Shopping at Outlet StoresI notice this when I shop at the Banana Republic outlet store.  I’m sure you’ll find some of the items are from their mall or main retail stores but many of the items are tagged and labeled as their factory line.  At least, those are my findings.

Much of the time I choose to ignore this and still purchase the item.  The quality has always been good and the price is much more affordable for our budget.    But considering I’m purchasing an item that may be manufactured for the factory or outlet store, I wonder if my purchase is still a good deal?

According to a Kiplinger finance article and research quality can vary on these items:

Some retailers use their outlet stores to liquidate anything that didn’t sell in their mall stores or to unload slightly damaged items.

Companies make product lines specifically for their outlet stores and sell them at lower prices because they use cheaper materials or skip extra embellishments. However, the quality on these made-for-outlet lines usually still is good, according to’s research.

I suppose the good news is the quality was found to be good based on this research, but again, we have to keep in mind we won’t always be able to find the same clothes available in the malls.  I think we also have to consider that some of the products that are from the main retail store could be slightly damaged or perhaps have a manufacturing flaw.

As a takeaway, here are a few thoughts and ideas I have to get the best deal when shopping outlet stores -

  • Know the clothing line – If you have a favorite brand, such as Kenneth Cole, visit the mall store occasionally to see what items the store carries. When the seasons change you can visit the outlet store to see if any of those items have moved over.
  • Pay attention to price – Try to be price conscious so that you know if you’re really getting a good deal.  Again, pay attention to the prices in the mall store and compare to the outlet store.
  • Learn about sales – I think you can increase your savings if you catch outlet stores having sales.  You need to be a frequent visitor to understand when these sales occur.  It doesn’t mean you have to buy anything when visiting but stop in the store from time to time to learn when sales occur or simply ask one of the associates.
  • Look the product over – I also recommend looking the product over carefully to make sure it isn’t damaged, missing buttons, etc.  If so, ask if the retailer will further reduce the price.

Overall, paying attention will help insure we get the most out of outlet store shopping.  As with shopping for anything, it’s good to be a savvy shopper and not get too excited over a sale unless you know you’re really getting a good deal!

What tips or ideas do you have to get a good deal when shopping at outlet stores?

About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.