What is an Outlet Store? Definition, Explanation, 6 Facts

An outlet store (sometimes called a consignment shop) is a type of retail store where goods are sold at discount prices below what they would cost in a regular retail store. Read more at the article below. 

What is an Outlet Store?

The client receives a price reduction at an outlet store since the goods is not sold through a third party. The store is owned by the maker of these retail items and is well-known.

It is frequently located just outside of town, where rents are less expensive, and is joined with other outlet stores to form an outlet mall.

The outlet store may be a terrific method for bargain seekers to save money on well-known brands, but customers should be aware that the greatest brand quality is not always reflected at the outlet.

Having an outlet store may be advantageous for a company in various ways. The business may sell any irregular product with minor defects that shoppers shopping at other high-quality department shops would ordinarily find unacceptable.

Occasionally, huge outlet department shops acquire odd or out-of-season products directly from producers. These are also worthwhile destinations for bargain hunters, despite the unreliability of inventory and product quality.

Where do an Outlet Store Get Money?

In addition to generating a profit on irregular goods, an outlet shop might also offer off-season or older product that is no longer appropriate in other department stores since it may be out of style.

Because buyers are tempted by the manufacturer’s brand name at a lower price, the producer may still earn a profit on things that would ordinarily be abandoned or written off as a loss. Due to the popularity of outlet stores, a growing number of businesses are using a third profit-enhancing strategy.

They make cheaper, lower-quality products than they would typically sell under their brand names and sell them in outlet stores. Here is where the deal seeker must exercise extreme caution.

How’s the Quality of Outlet Products?

A label does not necessarily suggest the quality that is often associated with the brand. Some manufacturers stock their storefronts primarily with less priced stuff that is not reflective of their regular quality, yet they charge more for it since it bears their brand mark.

What is an Outlet Store?

Customers must monitor this activity and assess if the price charged at an outlet store is truly proportional to the quality of the product being purchased. This behavior is discussed on a number of shopping-focused websites.

Originally, outlet stores were frequently placed near the factories where clothes and other things were manufactured. However, since many manufacturers have their products assembled in other countries, this method is impractical for the majority of brick-and-mortar businesses.

However, one way to save money is to build an online outlet store that has no physical address. Because there is no need to staff these “online” businesses in the same manner as a traditional store, discounts may be more substantial.

Outlet Stores and “Compare At” Pricing

Numerous deals in outlet malls, outlet stores, and factory stores are deceptive. You may be startled to hear that most shops carry a distinct line of inferior, made-for-outlet items.

Price tags may also mislead you into believing you are receiving a better deal than you actually are. Outlet shopping may be a lot of fun, but you may not be purchasing top-tier merchandise at a discount.

You may believe that you are purchasing identical things without the hefty price tag, but this is typically not the case. Yes, modern outlet stores generally sell lower-quality, lower-priced versions of the same things found in normal retail stores.

Unlike in the past, when outlet stores sold overstock or out-of-season merchandise at reduced costs, today’s outlets sell primarily things manufactured or purchased particularly for the outlet, with designers and merchants making familiar-looking items at a lower price and quality.

Infrequently do outlet stores sell the same brand-name merchandise as retail stores.

To reduce manufacturing costs, clothing may be created from less costly materials, produced in nations with less expensive labor expenses, and fitted with buttons and zippers of poorer quality.

Price tags may also be deceptive. Everything appears to be on sale or clearance in outlet stores, but you may not be getting a discount. It is possible that “Compare at” and other sales pricing are intended to deceive you into assuming that you are receiving a significant discount when, in fact, you are not. For instance:

Frequently, tags include “compare at” pricing that inform consumers of the item’s “full price” price. However, the item may have never been offered at retail or at that price, and it may be the price for a version of the product with a greater quality.

Signs advertising “25% off,” “50% off,” or even greater markdowns from the “ticketed” price are popular, yet the merchandise may have never been sold at the ticketed price. In other words, the ticketed price might be fabricated, the merchandise is constantly “on sale,” and the markdowns are fictitious.

Consumers who are unconcerned with differences in quality and are searching for a lesser price may discover good discounts. And whether you believe a made-for-outlet product is beneficial to you depends on your needs.

What is an Outlet Store?

However, if you are searching for high-quality name-brand things on clearance, you should conduct research and ask a store employee if the product is identical to the one sold at the normal retail store.

Check the product’s quality and label to see what materials are used and where it is manufactured. Check pricing at retail outlets and online as well. If you know what you’re looking for, you may be able to uncover bargains.

Additionally, examine the store’s return policy. Typically, you cannot return outlet shop products to the chain’s main store.

History Of Outlet Store

In the 1930s, outlets initially arose in the eastern United States. The factory stores began to give employees discounted prices on defective or surplus items. After some time, non-employees were added to the audience.

In 1936, Anderson-Little (a brand of men’s clothes) built a separate outlet store from its existing facilities. Prior to the 1970s, the primary function of outlet stores was to dispose of broken or surplus merchandise.

In Reading, Pennsylvania, Vanity Fair launched the first multi-store outlet mall in 1974. In the United States, outlet malls expanded dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s. A typical outlet mall in the United States is opened with 1 to 2 hectares (1 to 100,000 square feet) of store space.

This can expand gradually to between 500,000 and 600,000 feet (around 5 hectares). The average outlet mall is 216,000 square feet in size. In 2003, outlet malls in the United States brought in $15 billion from 260 shops.

There are outlet malls outside of the United States. In Canada, the Dixie Outlet Mall was the first to open in the late 1980s, followed by Vaughan Mills in 1999 and Toronto Premium Outlets in 2013.

What is an Outlet Store?

In Europe, retailer BAA McArthurGlen has opened 13 malls with over 1,200 stores and 3 million square feet (30 hectares) of retail space; describing itself as a “outlet village,” Bicester Village, on the outskirts of the town of Bicester in Oxfordshire, England, is a frequent stop for bus-tours of foreign tourists, particularly from China. Since the mid- to late-1990s, Japan has also witnessed the emergence of stores.

Outlet vs. Retail

If you are contemplating launching a clothes and accessories business, there are two primary options for the sort of physical location you should choose: an outlet store or a retail store.

The outlet vs retail issue is significant because each type of business has unique characteristics and functions.It is common for consumers seeking deals to choose outlet stores over retail stores, but this does not mean that retail stores have no value. In certain cases, the more expensive retail price is occasionally justified.

Outlet vs. Retail Function

The major distinction between outlet and store is their respective functions. A discount outlet store gives consumers discounted pricing and daily deals. In truth, outlet stores started as venues where retailers sold defective or discounted merchandise.

Over the years, outlets have evolved into stores that sell reasonably priced and high-quality name-brand merchandise. In contrast, the purpose of a retail business is to sell excellent goods at retail pricing, therefore discounts are uncommon unless there is a sale or special event.

Retail stores are designed to offer customers with exactly what they need when they shop for name-brand products, and a high level of demand often indicates that these businesses will be successful.

For instance, a Nike store in a shopping center may carry 50 pairs of $300 Air Jordan basketball sneakers. However, an outlet retailer may keep 300 pairs of identical shoes but offer them for $90, knowing that the cheaper price will increase sales volume.

Outlet vs. Retail Quality

The quality of the merchandise sold is another distinction between outlet and shop. Numerous large retailers utilize outlet stores to offer excess inventory and out-of-season merchandise at a discount.

What is an Outlet Store?

The products are of high quality, but there is insufficient space for stores to stock them. However, certain name companies that franchise outlet stores may employ lower-quality materials in the products offered at these outlets than in the products sold at retail locations.

In addition, some outlet stores sell damaged, lightly worn, or brand-new items that is flawed or unusual in some way. Frequently, this occurs at outlets that do not sell cheap name-brand products, but instead sell merchandise manufactured just for the outlet and not available at any other retail location.

Outlet vs. Retail Locations

Location is a crucial factor to consider when deciding between an outlet shop and a store. Typically, outlets are constructed at inconvenient places, requiring prospective consumers to go outside of their immediate neighborhood.

Real estate and rent are less expensive further away from densely populated regions, which is why stores are situated in remote locations.

The majority of retail shops are located in malls, strip malls, or densely populated districts in the heart of a major city or large town, so retailers may declare victory in the outlet vs store convenience debate.

What is an Outlet Store?

Retailers also like to maintain a safe space between regular-priced items and identical merchandise sold at a discount store. Given these facts, there are a number of factors to consider if you choose to run an outlet business.

First, if the outlet is a branch of a name-brand shop, it must be situated as far away as possible from the main stores inside the city borders. This is to avoid your store from competing with the main location.

However, if your outlet isn’t an offshoot of a name-brand store but offers some name-brand products, you might lobby for a location within your city to compete with name-brand stores.


An outlet store is a business with no overhead. They buy in bulk and sell at a much lower cost than retail prices. The primary business of an outlet store is to sell products at a wholesale price.

While an outlet store is not a business that you are likely to find locally, there are places on the Internet where you can purchase goods from outlets.

Some items may be more expensive than you think. For example, when you go into an electronics store to buy a camera, it seems like everything should be brand new. But, if you look at the price tag, it might actually cost as much as a new camera. You need to check out the prices.

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