Why outlet stores aren’t as good a deal as they seem


Outlet stores, as most people understand them,
are a place to get a good deal on a high-end product. And that’s certainly how they started. Back in the 1930s, clothing stores offered
excess or damaged goods to their employees and then later started offering those same
goods to non-employees. Shoppers go to outlet stores thinking that
they’re going to get steep discounts either on stuff that was returned and couldn’t
be resold or items that weren’t a best seller last season. But the truth is that these days, you’re
probably not getting that great of a deal. Chavie Lieber, a Racked reporter, has written
about the tactics that brands use to make shoppers believe they’re getting more for
less. Lieber: The point is to make you think that you’re
actually buying products from the brand itself, when in reality, they’re probably made by
third party vendors or brands that license the name out but were actually never part
of the original label or collection. In a 2014 letter to the Chairwoman of the
Federal Trade Commission, four members of Congress wrote that an estimated 85% of merchandise
in outlets were specifically manufactured for outlets. They wanted the FTC to investigate unfair marketing
practices that make it really hard for the average shopper to tell which clothes
were never actually sold at the higher end retail store. Lieber: The ethics are definitely murky especially
when you look at how these items are priced because the labels will say ‘originally sold
for $350, your price is $150’. But in reality if the item was made specifically
for the outlet is was never sold at $350. Last year a woman in California actually sued
a Michael Kors outlet for misleading her with this tag. The truth is these jeans were never really
sold at $120. Kors agreed to pay a class action settlement. They said they would use the word “Value”
instead of “MSRP” on the tag and would install signs in their stores to help clarify
what that means. Lieber: Neiman Marcus’s vice president of corporate
communications, Ginger Reeder, she insists that the products are not necessarily inferior
in quality. But she’ll either say that the fabrics might
be different, the buttons are less expensive, but certainly because they’re made specifically
for outlets they’re probably not designed by the same team that’s making it for the
regular priced stores. Some brands will signal which items were manufactured
for outlets, but you have to know what you are looking for. Consumers might not ultimately care if the
items were made at a lower quality for the outlets but they should at least know what
they’re buying.

100 comments

  1. I'm fine buying jeans that cost 15 dollars as long as they do their job I don't care if it cost 150 or 15.

  2. I work at an outlet and I have to explain all the time that the clothes are completely different from the retail store

  3. I didn't know you were supposed to believe these were actually ever meant to be that "original" price. I always thought it was like, if you were to pay the real thing, it would have been this much.
    I just always buy at thrift stores or from the artists themselves.

  4. High end name brands are overrated anyway. I hope I'm smart enough to remember that when I'm no longer poor.

  5. Worked at an outlet for a top end brand, I can tell you it all sort of depends… Some things really are authentic marked down goods and others are not. I will say in all fairness most people do not buy clothes from a cost effective value standpoint, but more for the branding. I have seen shirts that are identical sell for 3x more due a very tiny logo stitched in on one of them. Also, keep in mind that you aren't paying anywhere near the cost of manufacturing most of the time. I could literally get 50% off on anything online, at the actual department stores, or in the outlet itself and they still turned a profit. Also, if something was already marked down and/or there was a big sale like 30%-50% off I would get an "extra" 50% off on the already marked down product. They "STILL" turned a profit from it.

    From a strict cost of supplies standpoint you are paying prices that are significantly marked up. Usually, things that are actually the authentic materials and original manufacturer will cost a lot more than the other shirts or clothing that "seem" to be the exact same. Authentic will usually "remain" pretty pricey, and you can tell some diferences if truly take the time.

    Having worked in retail and seen the "behind the scenes" details, I simply refuse to pay full retail for most of my clothes. There are plenty of places that offer great clothing that may or may not have the same branding, but I can care less. Give me quality, practicality, and style and I'm good to go. Get compliments all the time on brands people haven't heard of at the time. Then next thing you know people may start copping them. So find what you like and screw the brand. Not saying brands don't give you great quality, just don't count out all your options and capitalize on things when they're "out of season" and on sale or clearance. Even at that point stores make a profit so imagine how marked up things are when you don't… 2 cents

  6. Outlet Coach bags are signings and lower quality than regular Coach bags. You're basically paying Coach to advertise their brand for them.

  7. the ones sold at outlets are made by 8 year olds unlike the actual brands which are made by the usual 10 year olds.

  8. This is why I don't buy anything electronic or computer from big box stores.

    A lot of them have some good deals but those deals are not what they seem. Take any electronics walmart sells… the model numbers are specifically made for walmart and a lot of the time, you will not even see the model number on the manufacturers site and instead you have to use a similar model number.

  9. I feel like i might be one of the few people who doesn't care about the brand, quality or even where it comes from. All I care about is the price, I never spend more than $12 on ANY piece of clothing – I don't understand why people would buy a dress that cost about $100- That is insane! How much money do these people have!!? Personally, i think that people just don't know how to properly take care of their clothing(tag with directions on how to wash and dry) and that's why their cheap clothing only lasts for a few weeks.

  10. And then there is me who shops at Goodwill because good grief either way that is much too high a price for my taste.

  11. I work at a Gap factory and some of our stuff is actually better quality than retail. That being said though, some of it is worse. But 99% of our clothing is made for gap factory stores and there's isn't a lot similar with retail. We don't even have the classic 1969 denim

  12. I love a good vocal fry, but I didn't hear one in this video. These seem to be their genuine voices. In any case, I see no problem with a fry. Get over yourselves.

  13. I can't believe this piece came out in 2015! I was reading articles from 2007 that outlet malls had cheaper and lower quality clothes. It was obvious with a touch that the shirts were thinner and when you bought it beware if you washed with anything else because the colors were going to run. It's why I buy my clothing standbys from Costco. At least I know I'm supporting a company that treats its employees well and still gives me a good deal without any bullshit!

  14. The difference is between a factory/manufacturer outlet and a retail outlet. The terms are obfuscated in this video, but they are different concepts. A factory outlet is the traditional variety where the items were equal to the regular store version but damaged/out of style/etc. These have almost all been phased out in favor of the retail outlet, which as described in the video sell lower quality items. In the late ninetys/early 00s, many brands had both kinds of outlet, but they are almost all the less desirable retail outlets now.

  15. I know for a fact that Ann Taylor and Express have totally different products made for their outlets. Some of the higher end brands do actually sell damaged or excess goods at their stores though. We have an outlet mall that attracts visitors from all over the world in my town and I've learned the difference over time.

  16. I work at an outleCot mall by Chicago. There's always a "sale", try to find the " base sale" price and any additional or different sale that lowers that price is the REAL sale

  17. There is only one outlet store that I know of that is an actual outlet store and that is the Eddie Bauer store attached to their warehouse. The rest are all a rip off.

  18. Wish I would've known this earlier. My parent got me a Michael Kors bag from the outlet and everytime I look back on the decision of wanting it, I just feel full of shame omg

  19. I'm from Montreal and a couple of friends and I went into a prada store to just browse because we obviously can't afford anything and we met with a very nice woman, she told us how to never buy from outlets because then you are being ripped off because none of the bags in outlet Prada stores are made in Italy or with the same materials and care that originally made the price so high

  20. Just goes to show you how materialistic Americans (and other countries that operate under the same marketing tactic) can be.

  21. Or just shop in Mexico. Surely knockoffs, but the clothes and shoes there cost usually no more than $15. They're pretty practical, just not made with the same care or quality.

  22. Please don't fire vocal fried woman! Her sort is *endangered with extinction*. Be careful with members of this minority!

  23. Thrift stores have the best deals. I found an authentic Gucci purse for $4❗️ (Also great 4 the environment)🌍.
    People should watch the film: The True Cost 💰📺

  24. I was talking about this with my husband the other day. Companies lie to customers all the time and the government allows it, because it gets people to shop more, so that we pay taxes on the purchases. It sucks because they also do this at grocery stores. They manipulate consumers with sneaky marketing.

  25. It does not matter where I bought my clothes. If I need to stay on budget, I'll stay on budget. If my budget is $300 for clothing, I can buy dress for $30/each and I will have 10 dresses to wear for 7days, plus extra day, compared to wearing a $300 dress, and wear it for 7 days.

  26. One of the brands I shop started doing this a few years ago. Originally the outlet was just retired patterns that didn't sell. Now the bags are "factory quality." The difference is remarkable. It's so easy to spot, and I can't imagine spending even the outlet price on such a crappy quality bag.

  27. As someone who has worked at Nordstrom Rack, I can guarantee that maybe only 25% of the merch u see there is actually from the main store

  28. goodwill outlet allows you to buy cartfuls of stuff for 5 dollars.

    2 shirts? 5 dollars.
    12 boxes of clothes? 5 dollars please.
    A cartful of stuff? 5 dollars is the price.

  29. The thing is that so many clothing stores have ridiculous prices so outlet stores are just a better way to go, whether real or not

  30. sobs
    But I like the coach outlet purses. Yes, I realize that the 50% discount they gave me with an additional 30% because it was Black Friday, PROBABLY was the original price. But who could beat a big ass Coach purse for $100?

  31. a T shirt should never cost more than $15. A pair of jeans should never cost more than $30. A cardigan should never cost more than $45 (Cashmere). A pair of shoes (snickers) should never cost more than $90. But here we are buying a simple Esprit cotton t shirt for $35, a pair of Levi's at $80, a Zara cardigan for $125, or Nike snickers for $180.

  32. Why do designer brands want to sully their own reputations by basically selling inferior knock-offs of their own stuff?

  33. If it looks the same why does it matter? I guess it's shady of the stores to do that but if you care about brand names then honestly you kind of deserve to be cheated.

  34. Does it really matter if it was sold at a higher end store or not? If it's a decent product at a good price, I don't care.

  35. I still love the outlet near me. My concern isn't getting high end for less but to consistently get the style of underwent I prefer. Also I can get light weight hoodies with pockets for horse cookies for summer which is something I can't find anywhere else.

  36. I don't give a rat's ass about 'designer' brands. A bunch of us were shopping & a friend of mine got a brand name purse but the half price was still $200. I had 3 bags of stuff for that price. Are people going to like us more if our purses have a name on them?

  37. What i just experienced is an outlet store online site sending clothes branded or licensed for international sale not United States and found them online… markup was 200-400%….

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