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The Truth About Outlet Stores

TSM/Media Center

I learned something rather disappointing about outlet shopping today.I’m not saving quite as much as I thought and I’m not getting the quality I thought I was.  Say what?!  Yeah.  It’s true.  Stores like J. Crew, GAP, T.J. Maxx, Off 5th and Nordstrom Rack, are coming clean about putting out merchandise that is lesser quality specifically for their outlet stores.

Sapna Maheshwari from Buzzfeed did a story on this and here’s what she found: “Executives from Off 5th, told investors last year its products are 10 percent leftover Saks inventory, 25 percent private-label goods, and the rest mostly merchandise created for the stores by “brand-appropriate” vendors. While price tags on outlet goods may list a manufacturer-suggested retail price (known as an MSRP) or, a “valued at” price, that’s little more than a number ascribed by the retailer and doesn’t mean it was ever sold for such a sum in an actual full-price retail location.”

So basically, the amount it says I’m saving on the price tag is not the price it would sell for at the “real” store, but a “valued at” price instead…which is clearly not the same.  That’s not my biggest problem though…what I don’t like, is the lower quality.  If I’m buying a Ralph Lauren sweater or Calvin Klein jeans at T.J. Maxx, I don’t care if it’s last season, or a style that didn’t sell well, but I do care if I’m still paying a decent amount of money and it’s going to fall apart after a few wears and washes.  Not cool.  I suppose if I want top quality I should just shop at the “real” store.

"Executives from Off 5th, told investors last year its products are 10 percent leftover Saks inventory, 25 percent private-label goods, and the rest mostly merchandise created for the stores by “brand-appropriate” vendors"

I’m not really surprised to find this out, just disappointed.  I just bought a bunch of clothes for Spring this past weekend at both T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack, my two favorite stores!  I haven’t noticed bad quality yet, and I did save what I thought was a lot of money…so we’ll see what happens!

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