How You Can Actually Save Money At An Outlet Mall

Just because something is for sale in an outlet store, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good deal, or even that it’s cheaper than the item’s retail price. It is possible to save money while outlet-shopping, though: you just have to know when to shop, where in the store to shop, and to be savvy about programs that your local mall may offer.

Our power-shopping colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports put together these tips. The first step is to start with the sale rack. “I thought that an outlet store was just one big sale rack!” you might say. Nope. Outlet stores have sale racks just like all other stores, and smart shoppers head right for them instead of browsing the higher-margin displays in the front of the store.

While outlet goods are made differently from the versions that the same brand ships to their regular mall stores or to department stores, the back of the store is still where you’ll find bigger markdowns.

You should also time your trip well: choose a time when outlet mall offerings haven’t been picked over by crowds that are just as eager for bargains as you are. Try to visit in the middle of the week if you can, and arrive as early as possible.

Last, check with the mall’s owner for loyalty programs. These can provide you with personalized coupons if you don’t mind giving the mall access to data about what you buy at their shopping center.

3 Ways to Save While Shopping at Outlets [Consumer Reports]
The inside dope on outlet malls [Consumer Reports]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.