TV Segment: Outlet Shopping 101

This two-part series aired in the Stretch Your Dollar segments of KTRK Channel 13 News on August 13 and 14, 2013. The story was shot at the San Marcos Outlets (the Biggest Outlet Mall in the US), in San Marcos, Texas. All the Outlet shopping tips in the story and additional tips and deals that didn’t make the story are provided below the video clips. Thanks so much for watching!

I went to the San Marcos Outlets (the largest Outlet Mall in the US with over $1m square feet of selling space!) to investigate the outlets and see if they really have any good deals. When working with my clients, I look for great values. A good value is not necessarily the cheapest item. Cheap is just finding a low price. Value is finding a balance between price and quality. So I was really excited to check out the San Marcos Outlets. I found some really good deals and I learned a lot about outlet shopping! Here’s what I discovered:

1. outlet store names - sarah shahBack in the day, outlet stores were created to sell irregular items and factory seconds. Now, outlet stores carry first quality products.

2. There are many names for outlet stores. They can also be called factory stores, company stores, warehouse stores, last calls.

 3. Ask each outlet store what kind of merchandise they carry?

    • Every outlet store is different. Some outlets carry premium retail merchandise left over on sale racks, past seasons and surplus merchandise.
    • Other outlet stores carry totally different merchandise that is made just for their outlet stores. Stores say these products have the same quality as regular retail merchandise, but some shoppers don’t agree.
    • Finally, some stores in outlet malls aren’t outlet stores at all. They just carry regular merchandise at regular prices.
  1. Outlet stores are Name Brand stores. You won’t find the cheapest generic items here. But you will find name brand merchandise at much lower prices than at retail stores.
  1. Outlet stores have a wider range of sizes and styles than most discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
  1. Outlet stores accept coupons. And there are lot’s of coupons available. Sometimes you can even use them all together for bigger savings.
    • Get a coupon for the outlet mall coupon books from the San Marcos Visitor’s burea
    • Outlet mall coupon books have coupons for different stores in the mall and nearby attractions.
    • Join outlet mall VIP shopper programs (online) for special coupons and insider sale info. Check these websites for a rundown of current deals and additional coupons for each store. Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets have shopper’s programs.
    • Many outlet stores have in-store coupons that are only given away in each store.
  1. Outlet stores have sales – outlet stores have periodic store-wide sales for 30, 40, 50 or even 70% off everything in the store. At special times of the year (like Texas tax-free weekend), the whole mall may offer an extra savings like an extra 20% off everything.
  1. Always ask if there’s another way to save. Some outlet stores have in-store coupons, loyalty programs, points, daily specials, special discounts for students/seniors/military or other ways to save.
  1. The rarer the outlet, the better the deals. Outlets that are available in every city may not have deals that are as good at outlets that are more scarce.
    • For instance, there are only five Gucci outlets in the US (one is in San Marcos). These stores have some really great deals.
    • There is only one Uggs Australia outlet in the central US (in San Marcos). Uggs Retail stores rarely have sales. The only place to get Uggs on sale is in the outlet store.
  1. Outlet stores carry current season merchandise. Items are delivered and restocked daily from many sources, so it’s not just past season merchandise.
  1. Malls can be busy on weekends. To beat the crowds and get first pick at merchandise, the best time to shop is early in the morning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  1. You can put items on hold at outlet stores. If you aren’t sure about a purchase, most outlet stores let you put an item on hold for a couple hours or until the end of the day.
  1. Many outlet malls are big and outdoors.
    • Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes!
    • Bring snacks. It’s easy to get mezmerized by the deals and loose track of time at an outlet mall. Bring snacks and water to keep up your energy!
    • Outlet malls are big and bathrooms can be hard to find. Get a map and use bathrooms when you see them!


Here are some deals I found at the San Marcos Outlets

Clockwise from top left: Juicy Couture dress $189 retail, $40 outlet; Kenneth Cole skinny jeans $79 retail, $9.97 outlet; Kenneth Cole dress $149 retail, $20 outlet; Uggs wedges $150 retail, $50 outlet; Juicy Couture backpack $348 retail, $179 outlet.

Clockwise from left: Uggs suede wedges $139 retail, $50 outlet, Kenneth Cole sequin top $49 retail, $10 outlet; Juicy Couture iPad purse $148 retail, $63 outlet; Sacony running hoodie $65, $25 outlet.

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