Outlet Store Definition  - Definitions for the Clothing & Apparel Industry

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Here are some brief thoughts from our favorite contributing editor (Bridget) regarding clothing outlets:

"At the initial mention of shopping at an outlet center I feel a rush of excitement.  Who doesn't love a bargain?! For the thrill of purchasing awesome new fashions at bargain prices is truly exhilarating. especially for a 'shopper, someone like myself who thrives on the high that each purchase brings.   But I tend to wonder, are outlet bargains really bargains?  Is the merchandise in the outlet stores really the same quality of the merchandise from the regular retail stores?  I think that the general understanding is that outlet merchandise is the overstock from the retail store.  Or is outlet merchandise products that never really made it to the retail stores because it did not pass QC (quality control) standards?  Or could it be merchandise that you would not find at the regular mall store because it was specifically produced and to be sold only at the outlet store and possibly a lesser quality?  Am I over thinking this?  I think not, I would really like to understand what outlet merchandise is and whether or not it really is a good deal.  Can anyone please enlighten this shopper?  I really need to know what kind of deal I am actually getting at the outlets!

An outlet store is a retail store in which manufacturers sell their irregular, surplus or old-fashion stock directly to the public. The stores are operated by and branded after the manufacturer. Such stores can be brick and mortar and/or online clothing stores.

Traditionally, a factory outlet was a store, attached to a factory or warehouse. Often these stores are grouped together in outlet malls.

The term "outlet store" can also refer to any retailer selling returned and discontinued products, often at heavily reduced prices. These stores can also be found in outlet malls.

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