Outlets vs retail, and Winners prices: Sale fail? (CBC Marketplace)

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>>Gill: This is your “Marketplace.” Attention outlet shoppers.>>I shop at outlets because I get deals. Good deals>>I think I’m getting a better deal.>>Gill: But when is a deal not a deal?>>Charlsie: One’s from retail, one’s from the outlet. Can spot the difference?>>You’re not really often getting anything that’s a big bargain.>>Very informative, I’m glad I met you here.>>Gill: Plus Winners or losers?>>Totally betrayed. it was out and out false advertising.>>Gill: And get ready, get set. It’s a fashion time bomb. “Marketplace,” always in step with the times. (♪♪)>>Charlsie: We’re taking you on a road trip to one of the largest outdoor outlet malls in the country, outlet collection at Niagara, shopping for the truth. Bargain hunting at outlet malls is all the rage these days.>>Charlsie: Why do you shop at outlets?>>I shop at outlets because I get deals. Good deals.>>The selection and the brands that are here.>>Charlsie: Big names and popular brands promising high fashion looks for less.>>So do you think you’re getting a good deal outlet shopping?>>I think I’m getting a better deal, yeah.>>We know we’re getting a good deal.>>Charlsie: Sounds good but is there something you’re not being told? We’re going to let you in on some fashion industry secrets that will help you score a real deal. So what do you think about the quality of the stuff that you’re getting here at the outlet compared to the retail location?>>I think they’re pretty of the same.>>Oh, I don’t think there’s any difference whatsoever.>>So are we getting a better deal or are we getting screwed?>>So this is recording.>>Charlsie: To find out, we’re taking you undercover, heading into four popular outlet stores. Coach, Kate Spade, J. crew and Banana Republic. Time to go shopping. (♪♪)>>Charlsie: First off, Coach.>>Charlsie: A house hold name when it comes to purses.>>Charlsie: We pick one up from the outlet and pick up a similar purse from a Coach retail store. So are you getting the same retail quality from popular brands, just at a lower price? We take our purses to someone who knows fashion inside out. clothing designer Hilary MacMillan.>>Okay, let’s start with these red Coach purses. One’s from retail, one’s from the outlet. Can you spot the difference?>>I’m looking at the quality of the zippers, I’m looking at the lining that they’ve chosen, the stitch work around the seams, as well.>>Charlsie: Same label, two different bags. That’s because one of them was made just for the outlets.>>And I’m also noticing how this inside of this bag actually has the Coach monogrammed on the lining, where as this one doesn’t which kind of leads me to think that this is a little bit more higher quality than this one.>>Charlsie: Whether made for retail or outlet, Coach insists all of its products are made from the finest quality leathers and fabrics.>>What’s the number one difference would you say?>>I would say the leather, really. This one is heavier, a little bit better, this one is a little bit lighter. So that’s going to weather better and are this one won’t as much.>>Charlsie: Last longer?>>Yeah.>>Charlsie: Her verdict?>>This one’s retail and this one’s outlet.>>Charlsie: Well, you are correct.>>Yay! (Laughing)>>Charlsie: Are they the only ones pulling a fashion fast one? To find out we’re off to outlet number two. J crew, a popular preppy label. Will they fess up to the differences?>>Charlsie: We pick up this men’s Merino wool sweater and track down a sales clerk.>>Charlsie: So not the same as retail, but what about the quality?>>Charlsie: Really? Still great quality? To find out if that’s true, I’m going to one of the fashion capitals of the world, New York City. To meet up with a bargain shopping expert who’s going to reveal what the stores would rather you didn’t know. Meet Mark Ellwood. What do you make of the quality of the products that you’re getting at outlet stores, versus a retail location?>>This stock was largely made just to be sold cheaply so they’re going to cut corners.>>Charlsie: So how can you spot the difference?>>It’s really, really, really simple. Can you see, one of those labels has two diamonds on it.>>Charlsie: Yeah.>>And that says this was made for the outlets.>>Charlsie: Do you think that most people know that when they’re going into an outlet, they’re not getting the same retail merchandise?>>This is a trick of the outlets. Almost no one realizes or wants to realize that when you walk into an outlet store, you’re not really often getting anything that’s a big bargain. I think that’s really unfair.>>Charlsie: J crew doesn’t think so. They say they make sure their outlet products preserve the quality and design you expect from their brand. All right, I’m going, this one is retail and this one’s outlet.>>Charlsie: But fashion designer Hilary MacMillan isn’t fooled.>>Tags tell you where things are made a little more intricately. See on this one, this one’s kind of — has a lot more information than this one here?>>Charlsie: Hilary says the retail sweater? A better buy.>>Softer so it has a softer hem so the feeling is a little bit better.>>Charlsie: Will it last longer?>>Yeah, 100%. If you take care of it, it will last longer.>>Charlsie: We break the news about our findings. The quality of what you’re getting at the outlet is not the same as the retail location.>>Oh, that’s sad. (Laughing) No, I was thinking I was getting the same quality. Well that sucks.>>Charlsie: You didn’t know?>>No, actually I didn’t.>>Well I’m feeling ripped off right now.>>Me too.>>Charlsie: See those two diamonds?>>Okay, yeah.>>Charlsie: That’s how you can tell. Factory outlet only has those two diamonds.>>Oh, wow, good to know.>>Charlsie: Okay? So there you go. Now you know.>>I learned something while I shopped.>>You sure did.>>Charlsie: Next stop? Kate Spade, a fashion icon with over 450 stores around the world.>>Charlsie: Lots of deals here, too, we pick up a wallet here at the outlet and one from the retail store.>>First of all I want you to look at this. Can you see that the logos are not the same.>>Charlsie: Yes. Clearly, yes.>>One is larger and one has a little button.>>Charlsie: Yeah. With Kate Spade, this gem tells you it was made for retail. The stamped version? You’re only going to find that at the outlets. Our fashion expert can easily tell the difference in quality.>>All right, so what I’m looking at here is at the leather. That’s kind of a big dead giveaway for me. This leather is nicer than this leather, in my opinion. I have decided, I think this one is retail and this one’s outlet.>>Charlsie: Right again.>>In terms of longevity and lasting, this one’s a better bang for your buck.>>Charlsie: We’ve got one more stop. Banana Republic’s factory outlet. They promise the brand’s look for less. So what do we find here? We pick up this pair of men’s Pants and buy a similar pair from one of their retail stores. But when we asked them about the difference?>>Really? Our fashion expert says there are obvious differences between the outlet and retail pants we bought.>>So these are plastic buttons, and that is a metal clasp. They are different zippers, though. This one has the label on it, on the actual zipper tag. It says Banana Republic And this one just says YKK, which is a brand of zippers that anyone can buy. That leads me to think that this is a more high quality product. They spent more time and money on the little things in here.>>Charlsie: So Hilary, what’s your answer?>>These are retail and these are outlet.>>Charlsie: She’s right. Again. And Banana Republic confirms the products in its outlet stores are never sold at its retail stores. But you don’t have to be an expert to see the difference. If you look a little closer, you’ll see these three diamonds on their label. Similar to J crew, this means they’re made just for the Banana Republic outlet. That’s a tip we want to share with shoppers. That means it’s factory only.>>Oh, is that right? That’s very informative. I’m glad I met you here. Next time I’ll be looking for those diamonds now.>>Charlsie: That’s what we’re all about in “Marketplace.”>>I think it’s a rip off then. It’s just not being fair to the consumers.>>Charlsie: In the U.S., Banana Republic’s parent company is being sued for misleading customers into thinking they’re getting retail quality at a discount.>>I’m not surprised that facts like this have resulted in lawsuits, because I think people feel ripped off. It may not be illegal but it feels kind of unfair.>>Charlsie: Some outlets do sell retail for less, but chances are, what you’re going to find at most outlet stores is made just for them.>>Some of the estimates, between 60 and 70%, up to 85% of items in an outlet store were never seen anywhere else.>>Charlsie: But our expert says that might not stop people from trying to find a great deal.>>I call it Buyagra.>>Charlsie: Buyagra?>>Buyagra.>>Charlsie: What is Buyagra?>>We have a chemical response to a sale sign. Our brains are pre-programmed to go crazy when we see a sale. The problem is you’re probably going to get a better deal shopping the sale at a department store than spending the day browsing an outlet malls.>>Charlsie: But if you’re still planning on taking that road trip to the outlets, pack this advice.>>If you see a price in an outlet store that’s $20 bucks, that product was developed to sell at $20 bucks. It was costed that way, the raw materials, the labour. That tells you that it could be really cute, but is it going to last forever? I doubt it.>>Gill: Think you’re a bargain hunter? You may be the target.>>It was out and out false advertising.>>Gill: And we take a retro shopping trip and step on some toes. Deal or no deal? Spot the differences between outlets and retail products at Facebook.com/CBCmarketplace.>>Gill: This is your “Marketplace.” (♪♪) Ready, set, it’s a “Marketplace” time bomb, circa 1975. Fashion forward, retro style.>>High heels, platforms, boots. If they’re popular, there’s bound to be controversy, and experts who will predict dire things, like there will be a dangerous driver. Negative heel shoes, they’re called. The first ones, earth shoes, were designed by a danish yoga teacher, Anna Kalso. They were to make walking more natural, like walking barefoot in the sand.>>I was looking for something helping people to feeling better, and this is the posture for breathing. And when you take this on, you are standing in a normal posture. And I feel a lightness, get less tired, and are better off in getting rid of the pollution we breathe in because the breathing is much improved.>>How about earth shoes for children?>>We have started making a special sole for children, but it is a big responsibility.>>Any adult, they can probably do very little in the way of harm. In a child, however, with growing bones and growing tendons and muscle, regrettably there’s a lot of harm that can be done.>>They like their negative heel shoes, but we hope their shoes like them.>>Charlsie: The hunt for the latest fashion continues, with stores promising the latest looks for low prices. So are you getting a good deal or just getting duped?>>Hi “Marketplace,” I’m Jennifer Johnson from Oshawa, Ontario, and I feel totally betrayed and misled by Winners.>>Charlsie: Jennifer used to love shopping there.>>What is it about Winners that first attracted you to this store?>>I’m always in for a bargain. I don’t like to pay full price for my clothing but I’d still like to be able to have a good selection and Winners does have a good selection of clothing. ♪ just one look ♪ ♪ and I fell so hard ♪>>All of the love, all up to 60% less. Winners, find fabulous for less.>>Charlsie: Fabulous for less? Sounds good. Jennifer thought so, too, when she went shopping for a pair of pants.>>The Winners tag said was $29.99 and on their tag it said compare at $80.>>Charlsie: Yup. Take a closer look. There are two prices on their tags, the Winners price and something called the compare at price. That price tells you how much you’re supposedly saving by shopping at Winners, but that’s not what Jennifer found.>>Right next to that tag was the manufacturers pre-printed tag, and the price on that tag was $29.99. So where’s the discount in that? That experience made me very indignant, very angry, very frustrated and totally betrayed. Totally betrayed. It was out and out false advertising.>>There’s a camera there. Put it over your shoulder.>>Charlsie: To test Winners compare at pricing, we’re sending in some secret shoppers. Chelsea, Darryl and Melissa work for us, and today they’re going under cover to do a little price comparison.>>Okay, guys, here we are, outside of Winners. Now here’s your mission. We are testing compare at prices, so we’d like you to go in and do a little bit of price checking for us. Up for the challenge?>>Yeah.>>Let’s do it.>>Okay, here’s your allowance. One for you, and you.>>Thank you.>>Charlsie: All right, get to it and good luck.>>Charlsie: Our testers are looking for big savings.>>Charlsie: From clothing, perfume, even toys, they’re buying it all.>>Charlsie: While they’re in store, I’m in New York City, Getting the fashion 4-1-1 from shopping expert Mark Ellwood. The idea of this compare at pricing, what do you make of it?>>Compare at pricing is one of those tricks that works on the way our brains are structured. When we see two numbers, we instantly look at the higher one and take notice of it. It’s called anchor pricing. We see a hundred and the minute we see a hundred and then twenty, we see the difference.>>Charlsie: Can you trust the numbers you see on the price tags? In Toronto, products in hand, our secret Shoppers cash-out. And bring all their shopping bags back to CBC to do a little digging.>>Charlsie: So now that you’re here let’s look these products up online and see how much they cost. Our price geek squad gets clicking. When you learn the truth, you’re going to want answers.>>Charlsie: Nobody in this great big building can talk to us today?>>Gill: Get our newsletter, your cheatsheet to the news you need.>>Gill: This is your “Marketplace”.>>Charlsie: We’re taking a close look at Winners price tags to see if you’re getting the savings they promised. Our secret shoppers have finished their undercover shopping trip and now they’re looking online to see how accurate compare at prices really are. So you’re searching for the wallet?>>Yeah, I’m trying to but I haven’t been able to find this model at all.>>I’m just looking for this shaver here. I just haven’t been able to find this specific one quite yet.>>Charlsie: In many cases we can’t seem to find the products for sale at other retailers so we have no idea if these compare at prices are legit. We do find some products selling at the same price or more expensive than the compare at price.>>So I’ve got the Nautica light energy cologne here. So I found it on Sears, Sears Canada, and it’s $60 and compare at was $60, as well.>>Hey, Charlsie, I found that risk board game. So we paid $49.99 and Winners had their compare at at $100 and I found it here at F.G. Bradley’s for $74.99.>>I found another one, it’s a Bally total fitness ball and it is $19.97 at Walmart.ca and we paid $19.99 at Winners and the compare at price was $30.>>Over and over, our team finds similar products they bought for sale at other retailers cheaper than the Winners compare at price. Winners says the compare at price is a fair assessment, but given our findings, makes you wonder how much you can rely on it. When we’re shopping and we see a compare at price, how much trust should we be putting in that tag.>>Absolutely zero. No trust at all in that compare at price. That could have been plucked from thin air.>>Charlsie: So it’s a clear tactic, no doubt about it.>>There is a complete tactic to most of the labels in off-price stores. Those words could be elephant cupcake. They mean nothing.>>Charlsie: But those words meant a lot to Jennifer Johnston. The Winners price on a pair of pants was $29.99. The compare at price? $80. Making her believe she was saving big, but she soon realized that wasn’t the case.>>Good morning, how may I help you?>>Now she’s calling Winners to share her frustration.>>Can you help explain how you come up with the compare at pricing on your tags?>>Um, no, actually, that’s not — I wouldn’t be able to. Compare at, I guess that’s the buyers that would do that, not us.>>Okay, but it’s on your tag, so where does that price come from?>>Just a moment. I’ll put you on hold.>>Charlsie: When the customer service agent comes back — >>Yes, okay, I’ve been told that our buyers will contact other vendors and, that sell the same product and compare the prices, and that’s how we reach our price.>>Well, it’s just unfortunate that this is happening, and I feel totally lied to.>>Charlsie: A few days later in an e-mail to Jennifer, Winners says it was an error. Compare at pricing has landed Winners parent company, TJX in hot water. Turns out, in the U.S., they’re being sued for using deceptive, comparative prices to trick customers into believing they’re saving money on brand name items. We asked Winners to come on camera to talk about their compare at pricing, several times. But they say no. So we’re going to their head office to see if they’ll reconsider.>>Charlsie: Hello.>>How are you?>>Charlsie: I’m Charlsie Agro from CBC “Marketplace.” I’m here to see president Doug Mizzi.>>Hi Sharron, it’s Grace. I have CBC “Marketplace” here. Someone’s going to be right down.>>Charlsie: Great, thank you so much. Doug Mizzi is TJX Canada’s president but he’s a no-show.>>You’re not recording me now are we?>>We are, I’m Charlsie Agro from CBC “Marketplace.”>>The only thing I can suggest is get in touch with Shannon. She’ll have some answers for you.>>We’ve tried Shannon several times. No one in this great big building can talk to us today?>>The only person I’m aware of that can help is Shannon.>>We get referred to communications, but they’re not taking our call.>>Canadians are feeling misled by your compare at pricing and we’d really like to hear what you have to say about that. No answer. In an e-mail, Winners tells us they stand by their compare at prices but say sometimes errors can occur. After sharing our findings with Winners, they say they’re going to reticket a few of the products we bought and remove the compare at price. Makes you wonder why they can’t get rid of compare at prices on all of their products.>>When you see the words compare at, ignore them. Put your hands over that higher price and focus just on the cost of the goods.>>Chances are, if it’s too cheap to be true then it probably is. Chances are, if it’s too cheap, it was made to be cheap. So it can be cute but it’s not a bargain.>>Oh my God!>>Gill: What could be lurking in that bling? We go all the way to China to find out.>>He uses cadmium?>>Yes.>>And why?>>Very cheap.>>Cheap.>>And ask Canadian stores why they are selling toxic jewellery to teens.>>Yeah, we heard you, we heard you, I just have to say though, as a consumer –>>I do understand –>>I don’t think you understand so I’d like to finish my thought and then I’ll go outside. (♪♪)

100 COMMENTS

  1. First off its an OUTLET …What are we expecting here I mean it's either left overs in sm quantity or a bunch of the brands KNOCK OFFS so the folks in Chinatown ain't the only 1s running game

  2. I get most of my clothes at thrift stores and I also sell on Poshmark high end quality items . I never feel ripped off with thrift stores prices especially when you can buy tieks for $3.99 and resell for $160 or buy lululemon for $8 and sell for $60 it’s a win win fun game to play ! It’s called flipping and also getting a sales high at the same time !

  3. They had the « experts » come in but kept the price tags for them to judge which is outlet and retail. Obviously the cheaper one is outlet. Dead giveaway. Like to see them judge without the price tags.

  4. I never shopped at an outlet store expecting the same quality of the retail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the same product from the retail store that ended up in the outlet store.

  5. She wasn’t telling us something we didn’t know, if you really thought you were getting retail quality this stuff wouldn’t be on sale!

  6. The big exception is skincare, makeup and fragrance at winners. The Nautice cologne was an example but there is a lot of expensive make up at winners that you can usually only find at Sephora or a department store and the "compare at" price is the same as the Sephora price. Everything else is either outlet quality or damaged.

  7. Be sure to read honest and real reviews of Factory Outlet Store on my blog before you buy. Go to gohonestreviews. com/factory-outlet-store-review/ Thanks, Gamaliel.

  8. Depends on the outlet Nike for example does put their retail overstock in outlets and you can get great deals there.

  9. I have noticed the quality of products have since downgraded before outlet stores where thee big thing. I remember I bought a Kenneth Cole Watch that had a sapphire crystal face. It means that its man made but when you work at the jewelry industry which i have, its a steal. I didn't know at the time but when i banged it, on accident, i noticed no scratch. When I looked for dress shoes, such as Oxford Cap toe dress shoes leather upper I found them easily. Both products from Nordstrom Rack, 6-7 years later. None of their watches offer the same quality I bought years ago. Leather Upper shoes can't be found neither can I find all leather shoes except if i went to the retail store. Strangely Nordstrom Rack may sell the same pair of shoes and for the same price. Difference, guarantee. Rack: 45 days, Retail: no definite date available.

  10. 1. last longer …. you buy shirt every 5 years?
    2. the code is mostly in the label, so, you wear things backside to let other people see the label?
    price never lies, juts go with it.

  11. It very easy, now those companies are making their own counterfeits instead of other people from China. Louis Vuitton can do the same; make your own legal counterfeit and sell it for cheap and get all the profits!

  12. Watches are another item that are often marked up, then discounted to actual retail. Just don't let the major Swiss manufacturers hear about it…they will pull the selling contracts from those retailers. Had an outlet trying to sell a Hamilton Khaki for $1,000 when in fact it was $399, of course they had a 60% off sale 😛

  13. Regarding Winners, TJ Maxx, etc., “they” (the buyers who went into the sellers companies and purchased their “old” inventory for pennies on the dollar and the sales team who created the “new” prices for Winners, TJ Maxx, etc.,) knew exactly what they were doing, how to do it, and why they were doing it! It’s their job!! Plus all the perks and bonuses for being able to produce huge gains for the small initial investment is always a nice twist to the daily activities of that corporate structure/strategy!! Glad to hear that people in the States are finally holding them accountable.

  14. In torento we tuke ur begs beck. God bless Canada and their healthcare but I don’t miss hearing that accent when I leeved there.

  15. LOVED those clogs in the 70s show montage!
    The earth shoe thing was interesting, because my husband's friend had a colleague that he referred to as 'Professer Earth Shoes', & I never knew what that meant.

  16. From reading comments and my own observations I see that most of the people shop outlets, because they assume they can't afford regular retail prices. They go straight to the outlet, thinking a boutique is not for them. But guess what: as this gentleman in NY said: offer you get a better deal at a regular retailer. Every store has some seasonal sales, promotions, etc. It is better to wait and get I nice item at discounted price over there, which will be better quality, nicely wrapped, and the whole shopping experience will be so much better and more pleasant. It will make you feel you are really buying a luxury item, not just something off the rack. Don't buy too many items at outlets. You probably don't really need them. Buy less, but better quality. And treat yourself from time to time to a nice retailer during the sales season. You will get so much better products, better customer service and you will probably get it cheaper that in an outlet.

  17. I was wondering what about the brand name goods that are sold on Amazon or at TJ Maxx at marked down prices? Are they retail versions or outlet versions? (I am obviously not referring to the knock-offs in this case)

  18. the exception to this is lulu lemon. a lot of the stuff at outlet stores are just old collections, patterns that not a lot of people want to wear, larger sizes, and collaborations with other brands that not too many people care about

  19. Why is anyone surprised? If the consumer wants to label at a lower price, let them have it! No one is forcing anyone to buy it!!

  20. LOL at anyone who would pay $300 for a purse. Also LOL at anyone who would pay any more than one-tenth that for a purse.

  21. U can try it, feel it, touch it, and the bottom line it is authentic, so thats your own problem if u cant tell the different

  22. What about Nike outlet stores? I found a shoe at the outlet, that's been sold in retail stores for more. That means the materials are differents? Damn I am confused. Children's place do have hearts in the label on the clothes sold in the outlets, and you can't return the clothes bought at an outlet in any retail stores.

  23. I had no idea that the outlets were different than the retail stores!! Good lord…so glad I am not a fan of those outlet malls or shopping in general

  24. At least in UAE the merchandise in outlets is original, that comes from retail stores at the end of each season. so u'r not being duped with lower quality items.

  25. You see I got this shirt that really looks good, feels good when I put them on, makes me feel comfortable and all but the thing is, it's got diamonds on it's tag 🙁

  26. I think it's ridiculous that people are attracted to discounts in the first place. If a jacket is originally 100$ and you only buy it when it's on sale for 20$, maybe we should rethink how we shop. I love shopping online because it's a lot easier to filter out the prices I can afford, and I've always noticed that the cheaper it is, the lower quality it is, and to be honest, that is just fair. I find it a terrible idea to encourage customers to want cheap deals, it ruins economies and businesses.

  27. People are so naive to think paying less gets you the same quality. People are just hung up on the label and the alleged status they think they achieve by buying the brand name. You get what you pay for. All you had to do was make your own comparison, but, people are lazy.

  28. I don’t think outlets are such evil even if they aren’t the same quality as retail I see them as third brand or a third line of a brand.

    For example Michael Kors and Coach.

    Michael Kors has

    Michael Kors Collection which is super expensive
    Michael by Michael Kors though everyone just calls that line Michael Kors.- which is mid range prices they go from 100-400 dollars
    Michael Kors outlet.

    Now Coach has
    Coach 1941 which its most expensive brand
    Coach New York
    Coach outlet factory.

    A mistake both brands I think are making is putting together in the same store : their super expensive and mid range prices brand in the same store, probably their more expensive line is a different stant but it’s still in the same butique/Store as their mid range prices.

    They should get them separate and I think they better deals to their outlet stores since they are not giving them the same quality as retail.

  29. Its TK Maxx in the UK not TJ and was caught out a few years ago, the majority of brands they sell are actually there own, and the rrp is made up

  30. It doesn’t matter that the price point of any of the goods are. The point is that consumers are told the outlet clothing are the same quality as the regular store. Its lying for profit.

  31. Outlets by definition are inferior than retail or boutiques. Outlets are the malls of yesteryear. Nothing wrong with them as I know what I’m getting when I go. You want to treat yourself, go to the boutique and if you don’t want to leave the house, order online.

  32. I'd rather pay $100 rather than $500 for a coach purse, so it wont last as many years but the outlet purses last and wear very well. Who wants or needs a purse to last 20 years??? Styles change and I saved $400!!!!

  33. You can take two of the same shirts: one with a brand logo and the other without… the one with the brand logo will retail for more. Doesn't prove quality, just marketing and brand identity.

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