Outlet Mall shopping secrets - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Outlet Mall shopping secrets

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ATLANTA -

I think this is what many of us assume about outlet mall shopping -- we get rock bottom prices on everything from clothes to housewares on brand names that are either leftovers from last year or this year's overstock. Well, it's not quite like that. There are outlet mall shopping secrets you should know about.

Let's start with this from Consumer Reports. The product reviewer says that as much as 85 percent of what you see in these outlet malls is made just for the outlets. They've never been in the retailer's main stores. And that, says the FTC, can mean reduced quality.

Here are a few ways you can check to see if that cute shirt that seems to be marked down is really what you think it is. Start by checking tags and labels. That's where the clues are. At Banana Republic and The Gap both chains confirmed to me that a tag in outlet stores will have three dots on it. That means it was made specifically for the outlet. At Coach they are upfront that an "F" in the style number means "made for outlet." It has never been part of the high-end Coach store inventory.

If your tag has been cut or altered in any way, it's a pretty good sign that the product, for whatever reason, is not up to the standards of the main store. So, look closely at the stitching, make sure it's not damaged or possibly stained.

And finally when you see that marked out higher price, you might wonder if that's a sign you're getting a deal. No, not necessarily. It means that IF this product were to sell in the main store it COULD be sold for that price. But, it wouldn't really happen if it's made for the outlet.

So, if you have a regular fave outlet shop, just ask the clerk to explain what you can look for on the label so that you know what you're paying for.

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