We all love to shop at those outlet malls. Sawgrass Mills in Florida is said to be the second most popular tourist attraction in the state (you can easily guess who is number one).
Is it worth your while to hit the outlets?
Generally, you can fine the quality that you are looking for. It may not always be at the lowest price that they should be at. However, you can save money over shopping at full-price at a department store (who does that these days?).
Consumer Reports seem to think that the best places to pick up a value and quality item are: Lenox, L.L. Bean, Mikasa, and OshKosh B’gosh.
What will you find at an outlet mall?
First of all, every store is different. In a mall of 100 stores, there may be 2 or three that are just a regular retail store. You’ll find at least one dollar store (gotta make the kids happy). The remainder of the stores will be an outlet for a retail chain or manufacturer.
Most of the stores will carry irregulars and post season items. This may be a good thing if you meant to purchase something but, forgot to . You will find good quality items for the most part.
Outlets very seldom carry the same merchandise as full-price stores. The Gap Outlet, Banana Republic Factory Store, and Old Navy Outlet, may carry items that were made solely for those stores.
The downside of outlet shopping may be less than perfect shopping experience. This may be due to crowds, long lines, unattractive stores, messy aisles, lack of shopping carts or a shortage of fitting rooms.
In America there are three developers who account for about 40 percent of all malls: Chelsea, which attaches “Premium Outlets” to its 44 U.S. shopping centers; Tanger, with 31 centers; and Prime, with 27.
Where is the best place in America to hit the outlet malls?
ORLANDO! They have many, many malls to choose from. The selection is continuously growing too. Of the big three developers mentioned above, you’ll see them there, and a couple have more than one.
What days of the week are the best for outlet shopping?
Midweek,Tuesday through Thursday are the best days to shop. There are fewer people around and the shelves have been restocked since the weekend rush. Avoid the weekends. Especially if you pull up to the lot and there are tour buses in it.
What time of day is the best for shopping?
Get there as soon as the mall opens. The merchandise will be neatly arranged and available. The worst time for shopping is between noon and 3 p.m.
Go online and find a mall map. Map out your strategy for shopping.
Know the difference between a ‘factory store’ and a ’store outlet’ if you are interested in purchasing items that were not especially made for the factory outlet.
Outlets follow the same holiday calendar as regular stores.
Look for coupons online or at an information desk at the mall.
Seek other discounts, such as from AAA or AARP.
Shop for out-of-season items.
Notice the bags that other shopper are carrying. This can give you a clue as to who has the big bargain of the hunt.
Take note of return policies.They may be different from regular stores.