What Outlet Shops Don't Want You To Know

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Shoes09_krystal-bick-109_MollyDeCoudreauxPhotographed by Molly DeCoudreaux.
It's no secret that high-street stores like Gap specially manufacture clothing for their outlet stores — the tag will tell you that. But (and you might want to sit down for this), what you probably don't know is that high-end designer outlets might be hiding a very similar secret, too.

The Huffington Post reports that executives from Saks Off 5th told investors last year that its items aren't all deeply discounted goods that sailed straight off the Saks shelves and onto a 90% rack. In fact, its inventory is only 10% leftover Saks items and 25% private-label goods, and the remaining 65% is "merchandise created for the stores by 'brand-appropriate' vendors." So, in other words, there's a reason you've never heard of the company that makes that super-sale bootie.

And, even more sad news for the bargain hunters among us. You know how many outlet stores list the original manufacturer-suggested retail price on the tag — right next to the much-lower amount you'll be paying? Turns out, that MSRP is often a value assigned to the item by the retailer, and it doesn't necessarily mean the product was ever sold for that amount at a full-price store.

So, not to totally rain on your parade — outlet shops can still be great places to score designer (or even private label, if you're no label snob) goods for less. Just remember not to get too dazzled by the items' supposed provenance or original price. Because, sometimes, those things are as illusory as an outlet store full of 90%-off Céline and Delpozo. (The Huffington Post)