10 Things Outlet Malls Won't Tell You


1. "Recession? We hardly noticed."

Outlet stores date back more than a century, to when factories offered discounts on excess and damaged shoes and clothing to employees -- and later the public, too. Menswear manufacturer Anderson-Little opened one of the first off-site outlets in New Bedford, Mass., in 1950, and multistore centers appeared in the 1970s. In the following two decades, outlet malls took off, due to rising middle-class demand for branded apparel, says David Soberman, a University of Toronto marketing professor. Now, according to industry newsletter Value Retail News, 216 outlet centers dot the U.S., with 316 chains operating about 13,000 stores.

Published November 1, 2010