Do you really save shopping at outlets?

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 10, 2019

While foot traffic at traditional indoor malls have seen a decline in the last decade, outlet malls are on the rise.

According to the National Real Estate Investor, 6.8 million square feet of outlet store space has opened in the United States since 2015.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission issued tips on shopping at outlet stores. One tip some might not realize is that often outlet stores sell items that are of lesser quality than at normal stores.

According to the FTC, many outlets sell items not available in regular stores. While these items come at a discount, they might not be the same quality.

"For example, a jacket might not be fully lined, the stripes on a shirt may not match up at the seams, a t-shirt may be made of a lighter-weight fabric, and shoes might be made with synthetic materials rather than real leather," the FTC said in its consumer tips. "If top quality is important, you may want to shop elsewhere. But if it’s the brand, style, or look that’s key, you may be in the right place."

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shows the difference between items found at outlets versus items found in regular retailers.

There are other opportunities to save money at outlets.

"Some outlet centers also offer shopper club memberships," the FTC said. "If you join, you’ll get information about sales, events, exclusive offers from merchants, and other perks. With some clubs, you can earn gift cards and other rewards at various 'spend levels.' Just be sure to read the fine print before you get to the checkout."