A massive new outlet mall

Albertville Outlet Mall Coupons

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Along with many malls and big box retailers, dozens of stores at outlet malls in Minnesota will also be open come eight o’clock Thursday night, but we wondered are outlet malls really a better deal?

Beyond Albertville, shoppers can also check out deals in Medford and come next summer an outlet mall in Eagan will open its doors.

But before you start crossing items off of your Christmas shopping list at the outlets, we checked out five popular stores.

Taking the 40 minute drive from the Twin Cities gives shoppers even more time to get excited about their trip. The billboards offer a steady reminder of all they’ll save on the latest styles.

Albertville Premium Outlets is Minnesota’s largest outlet mall with 100 stores, a mix of designer names, housewares and specialty items.

“There’s lots of great sales here, ” one shopper told us. “Always.”

Sure, there are sales but do outlets really offer the lowest price?

“I don’t know. I really don’t know, ” another shopper said.

We went shopping at five popular stores: Columbia, Gap, Banana Republic, Carter’s, and Coach.

At Columbia, there seemed to be steep discounts on most racks of merchandise. We ended up with a women’s winter coat. We paid $169.90 at the outlet. The same coat was selling in a regular Columbia store for $60 more, but when we checked online, we found the same style selling for $10 less than the outlet price.

Tina Wilcox is the CEO of Black, a retail brand agency.

“You shouldn’t ever assume it’s the lowest price, ” Wilcox said.

She doesn’t want shoppers to be deceived by the reduced price tags at the outlets. And when it comes to what’s inside, Wilcox says we should know it’s not usually a fair price comparison.

“I think outlet shopping can be really great for people if they know what they’re looking for and what they’re looking at, ” Wilcox said.

Like what we found on our trip to the Coach outlet. Eighty percent of what you find in there is made specifically for those stores. Meaning, you won’t find most of it a regular retailer. To be able to sell bags, wallets, and accessories at such a discount, Wilcox says manufactures use less expensive material or cut corners on extra detailing.

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