Introduction to Outlet Shopping


INTRODUCTION TO OUTLET SHOPPING Outlet shopping has increasingly become something to plan trips and vacations around. There are currently approximately 300 outlet centers in America with over 6,500 factory-direct stores. In these stores you can find first quality merchandise at fantastic prices! A well-planned outlet shopping trip could become a very special addition to your next family vacation. Outlet complexes are built to attract designers such as Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Ellen Tracy, Carole Little, Mondi, Harve Benard and Adrienne Vittadini and they aren't just selling clothing anymore! In outlet stores you can also purchase furnishings, home appliances, and miscellaneous items by top designers, manufacturers, and suppliers such as West Point Pepperell, Brown Jordan, Alessi, Anichini, Vicente Wolf, The Nature Company and Annieglass, just to name a few. The outlet store of the '90's boasts an attractive and inviting environment employing attentive salespersons and providing dressing rooms. Some even have restaurants, lounge areas and entertainment so that you can take a break from a busy day of shopping. Outlet stores accept most out of state checks and credit cards and generally have a liberal return policy as they realize that the majority of their customers have travelled some distance just to shop there. HISTORY OF OUTLETS The outlet concept dates back 100 years beginning in the late 1800's. Manufacturers used to display irregular merchandise on tables in great piles for their employees to purchase at a great savings from what they would have spent retail. The word spread and soon manufacturers realized that they could open their stores to the public and reap an even greater harvest on their excess goods by selling them at incredibly low prices. For about 75 years outlets continued to be a successfully run business venture although they weren't common knowledge. In 1970, Vanity Fair opened up VF Factory Outlet in Reading, Pennsylvania, only this time it was done a little differently. VF decided to take a chance on putting several different name brand outlet stores in one complex housed in an old factory. Others followed suit and soon outlet centers began springing up all over the country. Most modern outlet centers are built from the ground up, unlike their predecessors, but the mission of the outlet to provide great value without compromising quality and selection remains the same. Randy Marks, editor of Outletbound estimated that by the end of 1993, more than 9,000 outlet stores would be online around the country, doubling the number that existed in 1989. In the 1980's the motto was "Shop 'til you drop" -- in the 1990's we are looking for ways to save money while not sacrificing our tastes. The outlet store is a great place to follow that credo.

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