Comparing Outlets to Retail: Did Winners’ Sale Fall Short? (CBC Marketplace)

**## CBC Marketplace: The Truth About Outlet Shopping##

Bargain hunting at outlet malls has become increasingly popular. Shoppers flock to these malls in hopes of finding high fashion looks for less. But are outlet stores really offering the same quality as their retail counterparts? In this eye-opening investigation, CBC Marketplace uncovers the secrets behind outlet shopping.

In this episode, we take you on a road trip to one of the largest outdoor outlet malls in the country, Outlet Collection at Niagara. Our undercover reporters visit popular stores like Coach, Kate Spade, J. Crew, and Banana Republic to reveal the truth about outlet shopping.

First, we investigate Coach, a household name in purses. We compare a Coach purse from the outlet with one from a Coach retail store. Our expert clothing designer, Hilary MacMillan, analyzes the quality and details of both bags. Through her expert eye, she discovers the subtle differences, including the lack of Coach monogramming on the outlet bag. The verdict? The retail purse is of higher quality.

Next, we head to J. Crew to uncover their outlet secrets. We examine a men’s Merino wool sweater, comparing it to one from a retail store. We discuss the differences with a sales clerk and consult with fashion expert Mark Ellwood. He reveals the trick of outlet stores – most people are unaware they are not getting the same merchandise as the retail locations. J. Crew claims their outlet products offer the same quality and design, but Hilary MacMillan disagrees. She points out the differences in the tags and confirms that the retail sweater is the better buy.

Finally, we explore Kate Spade, a fashion icon. We compare a wallet from the outlet with one from a retail store. The discrepancies in logos reveal the truth – the outlet version was made specifically for retail.

Are you getting a real deal at outlet stores, or are you being deceived? Join CBC Marketplace as we expose the truth behind outlet shopping. Don’t miss this eye-opening investigation.

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Keywords/Tags: CBC News, CBCNews, CBC broadcasting media, public broadcasting news, Canadian News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (TV network), CBC News Network, shopping, deals, bargains, bargain hunting, winners, tjx, marshalls, kate spade, banana republic, gap, coach, j crew, outlet shopping, outlets, cbc marketplace, marketplace cbc, marketplace, cheap, fashion.

*Transcript of the video*

>> [Charlsie]: This is your “Marketplace.” Attention outlet shoppers.
>> [Interviewee]: I shop at outlets because I get deals. Good deals.
>> [Interviewee]: I think I’m getting a better deal.
>> [Gill]: But when is a deal not a deal?
>> [Charlsie]: One’s from retail, one’s from the outlet. Can you spot the difference?
>> [Interviewee]: You’re not really often getting anything that’s a big bargain.
>> [Interviewee]: Very informative, I’m glad I met you here.
>> [Gill]: Plus Winners or losers?
>> [Interviewee]: Totally betrayed. It was out and out false advertising.
>> [Gill]: And get ready, get set. It’s a fashion time bomb. “Marketplace,” always in step with the times.
>> [Charlsie]: We’re taking you on a road trip to one of the largest outdoor outlet malls in the country, Outlet Collection at Niagara, shopping for the truth. Bargain hunting at outlet malls is all the rage these days.
>> [Charlsie]: Why do you shop at outlets?
>> [Interviewee]: I shop at outlets because I get deals. Good deals.
>> [Interviewee]: The selection and the brands that are here.
>> [Charlsie]: Big names and popular brands promising high fashion looks for less.
>> [Charlsie]: So do you think you’re getting a good deal outlet shopping?
>> [Interviewee]: I think I’m getting a better deal, yeah.
>> [Interviewee]: We know we’re getting a good deal.
>> [Charlsie]: Sounds good but is there something you’re not being told? We’re going to let you in on some fashion industry secrets that will help you score a real deal. So what do you think about the quality of the stuff that you’re getting here at the outlet compared to the retail location?
>> [Interviewee]: I think they’re pretty much the same.
>> [Interviewee]: Oh, I don’t think there’s any difference whatsoever.
>> [Charlsie]: So are we getting a better deal or are we getting screwed?
>> [Charlsie]: To find out, we’re taking you undercover, heading into four popular outlet stores. Coach, Kate Spade, J. Crew, and Banana Republic. Time to go shopping.
>> [Charlsie]: First off, Coach.
>> [Charlsie]: A household name when it comes to purses.
>> [Charlsie]: We pick one up from the outlet and pick up a similar purse from a Coach retail store. Can you spot the difference?
>> [Interviewee]: I’m looking at the quality of the zippers, I’m looking at the lining that they’ve chosen, the stitchwork around the seams, as well.
>> [Charlsie]: Same label, two different bags. That’s because one of them was made just for the outlets.
>> [Interviewee]: And I’m also noticing how the inside of this bag actually has the Coach monogrammed on the lining, whereas this one doesn’t, which kind of leads me to think that this is a little bit higher quality than this one.
>> [Charlsie]: Whether made for retail or outlet, Coach insists all of its products are made from the finest quality leathers and fabrics.
>> [Interviewee]: What’s the number one difference, would you say?
>> [Interviewee]: I would say the leather, really. This one is heavier, a little bit better, this one is a little bit lighter. So that’s going to weather better and this one won’t as much.
>> [Charlsie]: Her verdict? This one’s retail and this one’s outlet.
>> [Charlsie]: Next, J. Crew. We pick up a men’s Merino wool sweater and track down a sales clerk.
>> [Charlsie]: So not the same as retail, but what about the quality?
>> [Charlsie]: Really? Still great quality? To find out if that’s true, we’re going to New York City to meet up with a bargain shopping expert.
>> [Interviewee]: This stock was largely made just to be sold cheaply, so they’re going to cut corners.
>> [Charlsie]: So how can you spot the difference?
>> [Interviewee]: It’s really, really, really simple. Can you see, one of those labels has two diamonds on it.
>> [Charlsie]: Yeah.
>> [Interviewee]: And that says this was made for the outlets.
>> [Charlsie]: Do you think that most people know that when they’re going into an outlet, they’re not getting the same retail merchandise?
>> [Interviewee]: This is a trick of the outlets. Almost no one realizes or wants to realize that when you walk into an outlet store, you’re not really often getting anything that’s a big bargain. I think that’s really unfair.
>> [Charlsie]: J. Crew doesn’t think so. They say they make sure their outlet products preserve the quality and design you expect from their brand.
>> [Interviewee]: All right, I’m going, this one is retail and this one’s outlet.
>> [Charlsie]: But fashion designer Hilary MacMillan isn’t fooled. She points out the differences in the tags and confirms that the retail sweater is the better buy.
>> [Charlsie]: We break the news about our findings. The quality of what you’re getting at the outlet is not the same as the retail location.
>> [Interviewee]: Oh

Originally broadcast January 8, 2016
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For more than 75 years, CBC News has been the source Canadians turn to, to keep them informed about their communities, their country and their world. Through regional and national programming on multiple platforms, including CBC Television, CBC News Network, CBC Radio,, mobile and on-demand, CBC News and its internationally recognized team of award-winning journalists deliver the breaking stories, the issues, the analyses and the personalities that matter to Canadians.Hilary MacMillan

What do you think?

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  1. An honest Eddie Bauer employee told me the key is to ask at the retail store if they accept outlet returns. Eddie Bauer does, which confirms their quality is the same.

  2. I prefer a lot of the outlet models over retail models. For example, I like a lot of Coach outlet handbags but I find most of their retail handbags hideous — and the outlet quality is still great for the price, considering the prices of Aldo and the like.

  3. This episode highlighted the superficial values rife in the fashion industry. Most people go for new, disposable fashion. The designer focused on details, craftsmanship and longevity. If you get clear on your values, you can act accordingly. Why do people always want something for nothing?

  4. So where i can find retail store online? Is it like macys or the real website ? Please answer me because i libe in small city and only do online shopping. Ty guys

  5. I've lived in Mexico, Canada and the US. The only good deals on clothing that I have ever found were in the US.
    You go for a shirt priced at $25, arrive to the cash and find out the $25 is actually the regular price and now it's priced at $5.

    The only good deals on shoes have been in Mexico, specially good leather shoes that are made there, typically $100 for a pair of shoes, and $70 for the second $50 for the third .

    In Canada I've found only sadness 🤣

  6. Simple, how you expected something half or triple price cheaper to be the same quality? If so they won’t have both outlet and retail in the first place. But if you get retail in a cheaper price is a good hunt.

  7. People are so fickle and fashion changes so why pay more for the retail price when the outlet store product will likely last just fine until the next fad comes along.

  8. I was actually a designer for outlet clothing for a few well known brands when I worked in the industry. The main difference is outlet stuff is licensed out so we don’t use the exact same factories as the regular retail. So there will be slight differences in details such as the Coach handbag at the outlet version being lesser leather.

    It’s still a good deal.

  9. I wonder if it’s only outlet stores that sell outlet made merchandise or do major discount retailers like Tj Maxx, Ross, Marshalls & Burlington follow the same practice?

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