Outlet stores

Survey ranks best outlet stores to buy – NBC Chicago

Bargain hunters know how to find the best possible price on the items they want, and with so many outlet stores in the Chicago area offering great bargains, this can seem like a treasure map for savvy shoppers. . But a new report shows some outlet stores don’t exactly offer outlet prices.

Chicago is surrounded by top outlet stores like Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Gurnee Mills, Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, and Prime Outlets in Huntley, to name a few, but a survey of Consumer reports shows that some stores in malls may not even be outlets at all and others may in fact sell lower quality items.

“By industry definition, a shopping center is a shopping center in which most of the individual tenants are owner-operated stores,” the report says. “During the rental agreement process, developers typically require tenants to maintain a certain percentage of merchandise sold at discounted prices compared to retail store prices.”

However, the amount of this discount may not be specified.

In addition, manufacturers also began to make items only for point of sale, taking away from stores their reputation for selling “seconds” and instead supplying stores with items using different materials or less embellishments.

Consumer reports sent secret shoppers to several different malls around the country and these shoppers then ranked the stores based on price, product availability, quality, customer service and overall satisfaction, the TODAY show reported.

The stores ranked highest by shoppers were:

  • Good value
  • LL bean
  • Haggar
  • Carter
  • OshKosh B’Gosh
  • Jockey
  • Bose
  • Coach / Men Coach
  • Bath and Body
  • Vitamin World
  • Corningware Corelle

Among the lowest ranked stores were:

  • Nike
  • Levi’s
  • Old navy
  • J Crew

Overall, survey respondents said they were happy with the outlet stores, achieving savings ranging from 3% to 72%. About 17%, however, felt the prices were actually higher.

And with industry experts predicting that shoppers will spend $ 42 billion on outlet stores this year, Consumer Reports a offered these tips to make sure buyers get the best deals.

Time your trip.
Discounts are often highest during holidays and traditional retail periods, including Black Friday. If possible, try to shop in the middle of the week when there are fewer buyers and arrive early to shop before items are “picked”.

Use a map.
Download a map and determine which stores you want to visit. This way you will avoid going around in circles trying to find the stores that appeal to you.

Use coupons.
Some stores offer printable coupons or downloadable coupon books.

Use apps.
Using price checking apps like Red Laser, which can scan barcodes, will help make sure the item you want isn’t available for less at a nearby store or online .

Know the return policy.
Most retailers will not accept returns from factory outlets, and some outlets may not accept returns from their websites.