Saks, Nieman Marcus, etc outlets vs. the real stores
Is the stuff they sell in the outlets overstock from the parent department stores, or is it shit from China with the label sewn on that is sold only in the outlets? I've gotten some really nice dress shirts at the Saks outlet in Elizabeth, NJ at (supposedly) ridiculously marked down prices. They fit well and, yes, I am shallow enough to enjoy wearing the Saks label without having to pay the full price. So am I buying the real stuff of crap imported from Asia?
Nieman Marcus used to be really good about only selling overstock merchandise from their stores, but that may have changed.
Most other stores sell made in China crap with a store label in it. If all you want is the label, then you are probably getting what you want. If you really think that $25.00 shirt is anything other than a $25.00 shirt regardless of what the sales tag says, then you probably should shop outlets.
OP, Too funny. I was in Target yesterday and found jackets and other clothes with the Nieman Marcus label.
I was in the Saks outlet looking for a winter coat. They had this one coat with the Saks blue label (whatever that means). The tag had $400 crossed out and marked down to $150, with a further 50% reduction. So, I'd be buying a coat for $75 that regularly sells for $400 in the main store. The coat was a piece of shit. The fabric looked and felt very cheap and the stitching was amateurish. Needless to say I didn't buy it. They also have a Brooks Bros. outlet with incredible markdowns, but now I'm suspicious if the goods are overstock or shit made exclusively for the outlet.
Most outlet stores sell goods made specifically for the outlet stores and not from regular retail store overstock.
You should be able to tell by looking at the quality of the fabrics, assembly, and stitching. It shouldn't be too hard to tell whether it's something that came from the real store. There are usually drastic differences as R3 pointed out.
Judging from the stock at Nordstrom's Rack, I think it has merchandise from their regular stores. There usually aren't very many of the same item within or across sizes. It looks like unsold or overstock collected from their stores.
Back in the day, an outlet store was a room in the back of the distribution warehouse - most of them were in Seacaus, NJ. You got the stuff that did not make it into the stores. It was the same merchandise you would find in the department stores. It was just loaded onto tables or on racks and you would have to dig through piles of clothes to find what you wanted. My mother used to take us there when we were kids. I was one of the best dressed guys in school.
I think you can do better by waiting for end of season sales rather than the outlets. Sometimes, when the outlets have mark-downs, the prices are more reasonable for what you get. Outlets have totally changed to almost all private-label MADE for the outlet with the same 50 - 60% mark-up all stores charge.
My husband has worked at Saks for eons. We stopped at the outlet mall to have lunch on our way home from a trip. He wanted to see their outlet store, and was horrified at the crap their outlet store was selling. Nothing from the store, except the shopping bags. So now you the Saks outlet is for crap.
Nordstrom Rack is one of the few places that actually gets regular in-store merchandise. I used to buy all my shoes there. Now there is so much more competition, I rarely find anything I like in my size. Still get shirts, sports jackets and belts there, though.
Get thee to Loehmann's.
I've identified many items that have traveled from Nordstrom's, to Nordstrom's rack. The local Nordstrom's even sold out a nifty pair of shoes in my size, and those same shoes really did show up at the Rack store a few months later.
I love that OP thinks only the stuff in those stores outlets is made in China. That's where they get ALL their merchandise. You think the clothes in Saks is made in the U.S.?
I don't understand how it's 2013 and the OP isn't aware of the answer to his own question.
Doesn't everyone already know that Outlet stores produce items specifically for these stores?
I've spent the last thirty years in retail and I know first hand that people have huge misconceptions about phrases like Outlet Store, limited edition, estate sale, and many more.
I didn't know.
[quote]I've gotten some really nice dress shirts at the Saks outlet... They fit well
If they're nice shirts that fit well, what difference should it make where they were made or if they were made for retail at Saks?!?!
People need to stop for a second to think about what they're saying re: branding and status etc.
Nice shirts at a good price that fit well. Full stop.
Seriously: the day is coming when people will happily swill down crap, but ignore something nice that isn't in the right package. Sad.
Neiman's outlet, Last Call has lots of name brand items at great prices.
[quote]Doesn't everyone already know that Outlet stores produce items specifically for these stores?
I didn't know. Plus, I assume almost everything you buy, clothingwise, is made in China. It doesn't matter if it's Saks, or Nieman Marcus or Bloomingdales.
[quote]Doesn't everyone already know that Outlet stores produce items specifically for these stores?
As I said above: Who cares as long as they're nice shirts?! OP already said he liked the shirts, they were a good price, and they fit well. Brand snobbery is so ovah.
R18, it may all be made in China, but it does not mean it is the same quality. My partner bought some shirts at an outlet mall that were"identical" to the shirts I bought in the store. Well, they were not identical. The fabric was the same, but the fit was much skimpier: the shirt tails were shorter, etc. The buttons were not of good quality and were sewn on poorly. The topstitching was not nearly as well done and was at a much larger stitch length.
At three feet away, the shirts appeared identical. If that is what you want, fine. But if you care about quality, you need to know that the quality is not there.
As an aside, the store bought shirt, I still wear. The outlet shirts fell apart years ago.
The point is that no distributor is going to sell the good stuff at a cheap price on a routine basis. For the great majority of items, outlet goods are made for the outlet market. AND, ladies, the outlet market is full of consumers who care more about price than quality, or do not understand the meaning of the word "quality."
Self-branded knock-offs are a smart business move, and do not cut into brand integrity much, because of the differences between the two consumer groups noted.
If you care about what you're getting, you buy main-line or shop very cannily if you are at an outlet (I don't bother with outlets).
And, yes, China manufactures an appallingly high proportion, but China also knows good from bad.
[quote]do not understand the meaning of the word "quality."
OP already said that they're nice shirts that fit him well. That was the given.
Retail queens are such a drag. "You don't know the meaning of quality."
Give. me. a. fucking. break.
I used to work for Ralph Lauren. Most -- but not all -- of the clothes made in the outlet stores are made just for the outlet. Whenever you see an outlet store that has a broad selection of items across all sizes, you can assume it's made for the outlets. In Ralph's case, though, the quality is pretty much the same as retail stores. Other companies, not so much. I recently bought a pair of pants from a J Crew outlet, and didn't realize how much worse they were than regular store merchandise. The pockets were ridiculously shallow; all my change would fall out when I sat down. They saved, what? maybe 2 cents from having a shallower pocket?!? I emailed them to point out how this is bad business, but they didn't seem to care. Caveat emptor, I suppose, but it's not likely I'll ever go back to the Crew outlet. Polo, on the other hand, for sure.
At Gap / Banana Republic, clothes made directly for the outlet have a slightly different label stitched onto the clothes - it has something like three dots under the store name, I forget exactly.
[quote] Self-branded knock-offs are a smart business move, and do not cut into brand integrity much, because of the differences between the two consumer groups noted.
Brooks Brothers outlets have their own brand called "347"; I bought some of my regular shirts, socks, and underwear with that brand once in an outlet store, and they were not bad quality but didn't approach the regular BB stuff in durability.
I'd rather wait for sales on standard BB items.
For those of us whose eyes are not as sharp in deciphering quality, how do we know we are getting value at outlet stores? Or are we just better off hitting the clearance racks at our favorite places? Can a poster make a list, starting with Ralph Lauren, of "better" outlet?
Or how about, use your noggins and if you see something in a store that you like and the price seems fair, you buy it?
I'm not sure about the more high end stuff, but I've definitely bought stuff at the Gap outlet that I've seen in the Gap a season or two prior.
"I've spent the last thirty years in retail and I know first hand that people have huge misconceptions about phrases like Outlet Store, limited edition, estate sale, and many more."
And you're going to take that secret knowledge to your grave. Good for you!
It's "Nordstrom," people. Not "Nordstrom's."
[quote]Or how about, use your noggins and if you see something in a store that you like and the price seems fair, you buy it?
And it falls apart after two washings??? That's really using your "noggin".
Why on Earth would anyone go to an outlet store? You get what you pay for. I go to only Saks and better retailers, as I demand quality. I suppose if you didn't go to school and make something of yourself, but that's your own fault.
If you aren't wearing the best, it doesn't matter anyway.
r32, you are kidding, right? Some outlet stores have fantastic items at a fraction of the original cost. Even the TJ Maxx near me sells Prada, etc. Just because you pay a lot for something, it doesn't mean it's good. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: some people know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
I've lucked out at places like TJ Maxx and Ross, but outlet malls not so much, especially Tanger centers.