Back-To-School Shoppers Race to the Outlet Malls
Since the recession hit in 2007, back-to-school shoppers had been hitting the big “discount” stores where they found inexpensive brands that seemed good for the dwindling available funds in the budget. This year has been different with shoppers seeking the brands kids want while still keeping spending at a minimum. The answer? Outlet malls!Sure, the cheaper priced merchandise at the big name discount stores costs less, but there is a question of quality and so savvy shopper were looking for more quality while still paying less money. Factory outlet shopping provides the name brands and quality parents and kids both seek while saving an average of 25 to 70 percent off the regular prices! The discount stores with the well known names, while offering a decent price, simply cannot compete with outlets such as Gap, Nike, and many other designer outlet shops. Says one parent “I still want the brand names, so I came here to pay lower prices on quality stuff.”As the recession began in 2007, Americans flocked to discount chains offering cheap merchandise, so this year’s trend toward designer names yet not at designer prices shows quite a change of heart at a time when experts anticipated back-to-school shopping, as with other economic recovery indicators, to be flat. Is it more than that? Possibly, but the outlet malls are showing higher sales growth than all other retail options aside from the warehouse stores according to research done by the NDP Group.
Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing for the Premium Outlets division of Simon believes that “shoppers are re-emerging and getting back to normal. However, it is a new normal — one that focuses more on value.” Another encouraging reaction comes from Tanger chief executive Steven Tanger saying that what he's hearing from retailers is that outlet stores are "either the most profitable or one of the most profitable business units in their corporation."Continued on the next page