This has not been a good year for the designer brands that you generally find at outlet malls. Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Coach have all cut back on their department store presence during 2016, hoping to find customers who will pay full price somewhere else. Kenneth Cole, meanwhile, is trying another tactic: the brand is closing all of its outlet stores, leaving two full-price boutiques, its website, sales through other retailers, and its international business. [More]
Outlet stores and outlet malls are hot right now, with department stores and mall clothing chains rushing to start their own off-price outlets. Their goal isn’t just to sell outlet-grade merchandise to bargain-hunters, but to attract young shoppers who might be able to afford full-price merchandise at some time in the future. Now women’s clothing store New York & Company has announced that it will turn more of its regular stores into outlets. [More]
The retirement of Jos A. Bank’s long held “buy-one-get-three-free suits” sales apparently did nothing to help parent company Tailored Brands spur sales in the last year. In fact, the company, formerly known as Men’s Wearhouse, says it lost $1 billion in 2015. As a result, it now plans to shutter 250 of its men’s clothing stores, including all Jos A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse outlets. [More]
In yet another of alleged imaginary discount prices, Kate Spade shoppers have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming that the brand’s outlet stores sold items marked as a steal of a deal, when really they were never sold at a higher price or in higher-end boutiques in the first place. [More]
If outlet stores for mid- to high-end retailers give shoppers a way to find decent bargains, you’d think that a Kmart outlet store would have some real bottom-dollar deals on items that couldn’t be cleared from inventory at regular Kmart stores. But shoppers who visit a “Kmart at a Discount” location should enter with the caveat that saving money is a hit-or-miss proposition. [More]
What is an outlet store? Long ago, factories where consumer goods were made were actually situated in the United States, and shoppers could visit factory stores to find overruns, merchandise with tiny errors, and other wonderful cut-rate goodness. (As an exciting bonus, if you took a wrong turn, you could end up on the factory floor.) Outlet malls have proliferated, but there are few factories left in America. Today, a store proclaiming itself to be an “outlet” is more likely to be peddling lower-quality merchandise under a well-known brand name. So how do you know when an outlet isn’t offering any true deals?
Macy’s wants in on the discount department store market, so starting this summer the company will open four outlet stores under the Bloomingdale’s brand in New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia, reports the Seattle Times. Apparently the real Bloomingdale’s sales haven’t been stellar in this economy, so Macy’s is hoping that a discount offshoot will bring in more budget-conscious shoppers.