5 On Your Side

Outlet deals not always a bargain

Posted November 13, 2014

The boutique stores at Cameron Village offer a lot of unique items. Although there are sales, it's not where most people would come in search of bottom-dollar deals.

For that, many people hit outlet stores.

But are outlet buys really a bargain?

Consumer Reports surveyed about 25,000 shoppers to figure out where to find the best deals.
The stores they say offer great value are Bon Worth, Haggar, OshKosh B'gosh, Izod and L.L.Bean.

They gave other stores lower ratings, such as American Eagle Outfitters, Old Navy, Gap, Nike and Levi's.

These days, most merchandise is made especially for the outlets. But is it the same quality?

At Coach, for example, the store carries one version of the bag, and the outlet has one that's very similar.

"The retail version is made of a nice, heavy, embossed leather. It's got a rounded top, so it sits nicely, and a rounded handle, which is more comfortable, said Consumer Reports Mandy Walker. “The outlet version is a fine bag. It has a few less fine details and a flat handle."

There's a $300 difference between J.Crew's outlet ballet flats and those from its retail store.

And be aware, everything isn't cheaper at the outlets.

Corelle dinnerware is identical, yet costs more at the outlet. The same with a Revere Ware cook set.

Some outlets definitely offer bargains, but shoppers need to be careful.

Head to the back of the store first for the biggest markdowns, and if an item is damaged, always ask for an additional discount.

Consumer Reports shoppers got at least 10 percent off every time.


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  • Thomas Fenske Nov 18, 2014
    user avatar

    Yeah, I live in Mebane and I don't know anybody here who shops very much at the huge Tanger Outlet Mall here. Still, there are some tricks you can employ. A lot of the stores prompt you to join them via text ... then you get unadvertised specials that offer a little better deal. Tanger itself has similar offerings if you get their app, but not all stores participate with them.
    Mostly I go there to walk.

  • iopsyc Nov 14, 2014

    Those must be some pricey ballet flats if the price difference is $300.

  • Angie Cox Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    the quality is definately not the same at the outlets and the prices are way too high