June 16, 2006

Outlet Stores

There is an article in the May 2006 Consumer Reports titled Outlet Stores - Where To Shop & How to Save Big Bucks. This is was an interesting article for many reasons. If you are a frequent shopper of outlet stores, you probably have suspected that some of the merchandise is not true factory seconds. More often than not, merchandise is created and merchandised specifically for the outlet store. This article compares clothing from a regular store versus an outlet. You may be surprised at the quality available there (better than you might think). Even though this article does not specifically address children's clothing, an outlet store may be a great place to save money.

BTW, an outlet store is not necessarily the same as a discount store such as TJMaxx or Ross Dress for Less. Those stores are liquidators. They buy overstock, end of season, and customer returns. I suspect that those stores are selling merchandise they manufacture themselves, although I don't have proof. There are a few brands I have never seen anywhere else but those stores. In any event, you can find really great deals and good merchandise.

The general industry opinion is that placing your product into a TJMaxx may devalue the brand. I wonder how that is true when you can find high-end designer children's labels such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, or Plum Pudding. I have rarely found obvious defects.

This is a very interesting article. A subscription is required to read this article on the web. They do have a free page that gives tips for outlet shopping. Check your local library for the full article.

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