Undercover Retail, Outlet vs. Specialty: Do You Know the Difference?

 When it comes down to the “best deals” and “sales”, people often resort to shopping at outlet shops over specialty stores because they think they’re getting a bang for the buck. However, this is the last thing you should be doing. Unfortunately, many people are unaware as to the differences between an outlet shop versus a specialty shop. They often believe that specialty stores will ship off their “previous season” products to their outlet stores, hence, customers wait til these products hit the outlets to get it at “a better price”. This is far from what the actual truth is. Outlet products are made specifically for outlets and are usually NOT older products from the actual brand, but instead produced by a different manufacturing company utilizing different and cheaper material.

Outlet vs. Specialty Store

Brands such as kate spade new york and Tory Burch are notorious for their outlet shops. Hundreds and thousands of their shoppers often walk into a specialty, look at a $200+ wallet and say, “I’ll just wait 6 months for this to go to the outlet and get it for much cheaper.” These customers are unaware as to how the system behind the outlets work. Specialty retail stores hold products that are made meticulously from the best material the brand can source. Outlet stores carry products of similar styles from the specialty and are also manufactured with a lesser quality material. Yes, you’re getting that kate spade wallet for $70, but you’re going to go back to the specialty store 3 months later and ask, “may I please return this because the zipper is broken and the compartments are falling apart.” If you look carefully, you can actually spot the differences between an outlet product and a specialty. With outlet items, the kate spade logo is a leather plaque with four hardware pieces holding it onto the product; whereas, on the actual kate spade specialty items, the logo is either individually plated on as letters or embossed with gold. Other differences are the lining within the product and hardware and also the shopping bags.

Outlet vs. Specialty


So yes, the numbers in pricing are lower, but so is the quality. Is it really worth buying because of the price? Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a long-lasting, better quality wallet that holds more value. It’s the holidays! Why go to the outlets with thousands of people when you can sip on some champagne and be pampered in a specialty store?

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