How to Get the Best Deals at Outlet Stores

outlet mallsMy wife and I like to visit our local outlet mall when we have some 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 major name brand stores.

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

For example, I always notice this when I shop at the Banana Republic outlet store.  I’m sure you’ll find some of the items are from the mall or main retail stores but many of the items are tagged and labeled as their factory line.

Much of the time still purchase the items.  The quality has always been just fine and the price is much more affordable for our budget.    But considering I’m purchasing an item that has been manufactured for the outlet store, I wonder if my purchase is really a good deal?  Am I really getting the quality at a lower price?

According to a Kiplinger finance article quality can vary:

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 Cheapism.com’s research.

I suppose the good news here is the quality was still found to be good in most cases, but it’s probably still not the same clothes available in mall stores.  I think we also have to consider that some of the products from the main retail store could be slightly damaged or perhaps have a manufacturing flaw when offered in outlet stores.

Get the Best Deals at Outlet Stores

So, based on these findings, here are a few thoughts and ideas 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 – You can increase your savings if you visit outlet stores while 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 reduce the price even more.

Overall, paying attention will help insure you 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.