Outlet villages Bargain hunting
This article, Outlet villages, was last updated on 30 November 2007 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Money articles.
Outlet villages trumpet big savings on branded clothing and homeware. We put their claims to the test to see whether they're worth visiting.
Is it really cheaper?
Overall, shopping at an outlet village is cheaper than shopping online or in regular shops, but some items we checked were cheaper or not significantly more expensive online – even including postage and packing.
Our research found that the average discount in outlet stores of around 30% compared with the lowest prices in the respective brands’ own stores, for example, Levi’s Store and Niketown, and in department stores, including John Lewis.
But where clothes and shoes are concerned, unless you’re absolutely sure about the size, fit and feel of items, you may be disappointed with what arrives on your doorstep.
What to buy
According to our survey most of Which members go to outlet villages to buy designer and branded goods more cheaply than on the high street.
Adult clothes top the list of the things you said you buy – 2 thirds of you mainly buy these at outlet villages. Shoes, sportswear, children’s clothes, luggage and home and kitchenware are other popular purchases.
You may not find exactly the same items at outlet villages as you would on the high street. Some retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Jaeger and Thorntons, have 'outlet exclusive' lines that you won't find in their regular shops.
Sportswear and clothes and equipment for outdoor pursuits can be worth checking out as well. These are usually items with functional designs that don't change much over the years.
Homeware and luggage
Both homeware and luggage from brands like Le Creuset and Samsonite, can be worth seeking out at outlet villages.
Some shops sell seconds - these are often items that have cosmetic damage or defects and can’t be sold in regular stores, or end-of-line merchandise.