I was just reading a post over at Drinking the Office Coffee and Lindsey wrote about replenishing her wardrobe. Specifically, she had some JCrew gift cards saved up and went to the outlet mall to get the most for her dollar.
Sounds like a perfect normal thing to do, and something that I'd probably do myself. I have some Macy's gift cards that have been sitting around for some time.
I stopped going to outlet malls about 9 or 10 years ago. Before that, I had gone and got what I considered great deals time and again. However, something changed over that time. The clothes didn't excite me and the prices, well, they weren't very "outlet-ish" any more.
It wasn't for a couple of years that I read an article that retailers make clothes specifically for their outlet stores. They were not (typically) places for retailers to move old merchandise. My thought is that people figured out that they can get good deals at the outlet malls and that cannibalized their sales at their flagship stores. For me it was true, I wouldn't buy jeans at Gap prices if the Gap Outlet prices are better. It also started to make sense why I didn't find the product at the malls very enticing. I think the quality was reduced to keep the margins strong and still keep the premium value at their flagship stores.
So I stopped shopping at outlet stores. I haven't been to one in years. Instead, I get my clothing from TJ Maxx and Marshall's - which seem to be true overstock-type items. Readers, do you still go to outlet clothing stores?
While on the topic of Lindsey's gift cards, if you were really on a strict budget and time/energy wasn't much of a factor could you do a little better than going to an outlet mall? If you are like me and don't see the value, you could sell the giftcards online for typically around 90% on the dollar. That money could go a very long way at TJ Maxx/Marshalls. That said, Lindsey got 50% off at the outlet stores, so maybe she got some great stuff at bargain price. And in the end, it didn't end up making a dent in her budget. Not bad.
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