Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others. When it comes to shopping, is there anything better than an outlet mall?
Amazing sales, deep discounts, and significant savings abound, all in one place. In fact, some of the secrets behind how outlet malls actually operate could surprise you — and make you think twice before pulling out your wallet the next time you visit one. You can find amazing deals on clothes, home goods, sporting goods, and everything else at the outlets, as long as you spend carefully and do your homework. Not all outlet stores are created equal, and discounts vary between them. There are generally four types you should know about: outlet, factory, retail, or refurbished.
When in doubt, ask a store employee what type of products are sold there to know what kind of deals to expect. True Outlet Stores True outlets carry merchandise that was originally stocked in regular retail stores and has been discontinued or phased out due to the shopping season, resulting in steep discounts. These stores also often carry damaged goods, so always check items carefully for irregularities before you buy anything.
Examples of stores in this category include the following:. Factory Stores Factory stores sell goods that were specifically produced for outlet malls. For example, a dress carried in a J.
Crew retail store might be designed without the expensive lining and fabrics and then sold through the J. Crew outlet.
Stores that sell outlet goods specifically include:. Retail Stores Retailers that want to take advantage of the foot traffic in outlet malls sometimes purchase store space there without actually offering outlet products. Some retail stores that simply operate space in outlet malls include:. Refurbished Electronics Stores Many electronics manufacturers sell refurbished goods such as computers, TVs, and stereo systems at outlet malls. Some electronics companies that have brick-and-mortar refurbished outlet stores include the following:. Before I visit an outlet mall, I always view its website.
By doing so, you can see which stores have promotions and sales, and even download online coupons. You can also join outlet mall loyalty programs to receive things like points for purchases, exclusive coupons, and notifications of sale dates. Tanger is currently renovating with a down-home Hill Country theme; Prime has updated its northernmost end with a flouncy Venetian identity that is supposed to evoke the Piazza San Marco. San Marcos, San Marco—get it?
These differences are somewhat telling. You can do substantial damage at both. Summer afternoons are brutal, particularly that tax-free weekend just before school starts. The only problem: Sizes here are limited. Can she take the heartbreak when she finds the perfect mango-hued polo available only in a 14? The size problem reoccurs throughout the malls. Many of the best clothes were available in only two sizes: microscopic and gargantuan. Basically, outlets come in two forms. There are people who believe that the quality of goods in factory stores is inferior, and there are those who want to pay less but lack the patience and greed for the treasure hunt of picking through inevitably chaotic racks of cut-rate merchandise.
People with particularly severe shopping issues also know, generally, the prices of things in highly addictive stores like J. Crew, Banana Republic, and the Gap. Brand names aside, some items—wine glasses, for instance—were cheaper on the Pottery Barn Web site than at the outlet mall, especially when you factor in the cost of gas for the drive to San Marcos. There are also weekly specials featured on their Web sites. On one of my visits in July, 1Club members got 20 percent off any item at the Calphalon store and 10 percent off any non-sale item at the Sony store. AAA members can also pick up big discounts at certain stores in both malls.
Signing up may also include notifications of upcoming sales by email or text message. French 3. Excellent choice to buy anything you need! San Antonio. Zumiez Apparel I South Suite
Hydration is a must. There is a plethora of drink machines scattered throughout the property for a reason. Avail yourself consistently if the temperature has surpassed 75 degrees or you will find yourself stumbling and mumbling insanely like Ralph Fiennes in the darkest parts of The English Patient. Worse, you might buy something under duress. Never a good idea. Usually these are the dogs of outlet malls, stocked as they are with books remaindered for good reason.
This means that in one store you can find terrific discounts on glassware, furniture, cooking oils, bedding, desk accessories, and the like. More expensive? But better quality. Given the plethora of near-catatonic men collapsed on benches in both malls, the worst person to bring along is a husband. The best place to send red-meat types is the Coleman store, the only such store in the state and one with enough camping equipment to outfit both Attila the Hun and Marco Polo. If shopping is your sport, prepare for some Texas-sized activity in San Marcos.
Start at the far north end of the Premium Outlets mall. At the cavernous, combined Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Outlet, shelves are stacked with tableware, cookware, decorative items, linens, small appliances and even some foodstuffs.
In the middle of it all: lots of furniture — definitely a good place to start if you need a pick up piece or two. A few doors away, the Restoration Hardware outlet is smaller but offers a similar mix of goods, all familiar from the catalog — including cool lighting options. If your aesthetic is modern and minimal, you may even want to start there.