Can you tell the difference between clothing from an outlet store versus retail?

Retail Vs. Outlet Store Products: Can You Tell the Difference?


DENVER - Many of us will bundle up Thanksgiving night and try and get the best black Friday deals this holiday season. Some will go to the traditional mall while other will venture to the Outlet Malls.

But a FOX31 Denver Investigation found you may not be getting the best bang for your buck when you shop at Outlet Stores. Before Outlet store allowed retailers to unload last season's goods or items with defects on thrifty shoppers, but this is no longer the deal for the majority of the stores today.

"Originally it was that way and now what they do they make product just for factory," one sales associate said on hidden camera.

According to fashion consultant Dahlia Weinstein when you shop at the Outlet stores you are getting what you pay for, meaning a cheaper product.

"A lot of these stores have their own factories, their own separate factories in order to produce clothes that are similar to what`s sold in the stores, but can be produced at a lesser price," she told FOX 31 Denver Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock.

She said many times there is a major difference in quality. We gave Weinstein purses from the Coach retail store and one from the Coach Outlet to see if she could tell the difference.

Instantly she was able to tell the leather from the outlet store was a lesser quality and the stitching wasn't as detailed as its retail counterpart. The same goes for a pair of women's pants and men's jeans we showed her.

Landrock asked Weinstein if the $70 price tag on the pair of jeans from the Outlet is deceptive, she said it is if it was never $70. The pricing at Outlet Malls has congressional leaders asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigative deceptive pricing.

In a letter to the secretary of the FTC, four lawmakers wrote, "It's a common practice at outlet stores to advertise a retail price alongside the outlet store price." It goes on saying, "Since the item was never sold in the regular retail store or at the retail price, the retail price is impossible to substantiate. "

Crazy lines from past Black Fridays:

Crazy black friday lines
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Can you tell the difference between clothing from an outlet store versus retail?
Best Buy #281 - The Night Before 'Black Friday'
Best Buy Manager Asad R. Ali (L) goes over the ground rules of camping out on the sidewalk with Brent Hart, 26 as he camps out with a tent in advance of Black Friday on the sidewalk of the Fair Lakes Best Buy store on November 23, 2011, in Fairfax, Virginia. He is fifth in line and plans on purchasing 'doorbuster' deals that include a 200-dollar 42 ich flat-screen TV and a 299-dollar 15.5 inch laptop at midnight Friday. Hart is a military contractor and leaves in December for Afganistan and wants the laptop to stay in touch with his family. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
apple store fifth avenue black friday
apple store fifth av
TROY, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Customers receive Wal-Mart sales circulars as they wait in line to enter the store Thanksgiving day on November 28, 2013 in Troy, Michigan. Black Friday shopping began early this year with most major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day as consumers took advantage of discounted prices to prepare for the holiday season. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Shoppers line up for a Black Friday sale at a Target Corp. store in Mentor, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. Retailers are pouring on the discounts to attract consumers grappling with 9 percent unemployment and a slower U.S. economic expansion than previously estimated. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shoppers wait in line to make purchases at a Super Target store in Thornton, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. Shoppers on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, are taking advantage of deals as they face down a slower economic recovery than projected. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tabitha Taormina, 13, lays on the ground while waiting in line for laptop computers at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2009. Shoppers gathered at Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and Toys 'R' Us Inc. stores from New Jersey to Texas well before midnight yesterday to take advantage of Black Friday deals on televisions, laptops and robot hamsters. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 27: Shopper Trey Hoffman tries to get some rest while waiting in line for the 5 a.m. opening of a Target store on November 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. Many shoppers waited in line for hours for the chance to snatch up limited quantity specials that the store was offering. According to the National Retail Federation, a trade organization, as many as 134 million people, 4.7% more than last year, will shop over the next three days. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI - NOVEMBER 28: Holiday shoppers race around for gifts after braving the cold temperatures out side of Target as they start the traditional holiday shopping season November 28, 2008 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The day after Thanksgiving is typically the busiest shopping day of the year and traditionally a indicator of the economy and how the holiday shopping season will go. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

But as a consumer you can tell the difference between retail products and outlet mall products.

At Banana Republic, specifically made for its outlet stores you will find two diamonds on the label. J Crew and Ann Taylor also use diamonds on the label for outlet products.

On Coach Bags, the outlet product will read "Est. 1941: under the logo while the higher end bags will have "New York" printed on the price tag.

"I would suggest people go to the retail stores look around see what you like see what you`re drawn to and then go to the outlet stores and see if there`s anything similar and compare the prices and ask yourself is it worth it for me to buy the original or is it worth it for me to buy the knock off," Weinstein said.

If you like the less expensive outlet version, buy it. But know you're really not getting a bargain.

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