The "inside scoop" on outlets

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My intern Lauren and I hit The Merrimack Premium Outlets in Merrimack, NH last week.  Although the weather wasn't so good (it POURED) the shopping was fabulous. I love shopping here. Not only is there a wonderful selection of stores, but the setting is just beautiful--even in the rain!

Outlet shopping sure is fun and oh so enticing, but there are a few things you should know to ensure you're actually getting the most bang for your buck.

  • Discounts:  If you're an AAA member, the first stop you should make is over to the customer service office (located in the food court at the Merrimack Outlets). Just by showing your membership card,  you'll get a coupon book loaded with discounts to many of the outlet stores.  If you're not a AAA member, ask the stores if they offer student, teacher, senior, or military discounts. You'll be surprised how many of them do!

  •  Know your prices. Do some research before you shop to make sure you're actually getting a bargain. There are many apps such as BuyVia and RedLaser  that will compare prices for you. 
  • Create a shopping plan.  Outlet shopping can be overwhelming (there are 100 stores at The Merrimack Outlets!) so visit the mall's website to scope out the layout before you venture out. Determine which stores are a "must" and which ones you can easily skip.
  • Check out clearance first. Many of the stores frequently offer additional discounts on sale merchandise. For instance, J. Crew had an additional 40% off of the lowest clearance price. There were some amazing deals!

  • Don't buy just because it's a bargain. It's so easy to get caught up in a "bargain frenzy", however just because something is cheap doesn't mean you actually need it.  Before you buy, ask yourself a few questions....Do I love it?  Does it fit correctly?  What will I wear it with?  How often will I wear it?  Remember, a $9.99 top isn't a great deal if it will gather dust in your closet!
  • Know the return policies.  Outlet stores often have different return policies than the regular stores. Ask about the policy before you buy.

So what's in this fall at the outlets? LOTS of great stuff!!

J. Crew Manager Anna  says that burgundy, green, navy are big this fall as well as camo and novelty prints and bejeweled and embellished pieces. "At J. Crew, it's all about the jewels!" says Anna.


At Cole Haan, navy, green  and burgundy seem to have taken over too!  

Love these gorgeous suede pumps in a "hard to find" low heel.  Style & comfort is tough to find!

 Cole Haan is known for their amazingly soft and high quality leather goods.

Just as we were about to leave, staff member Sandra reminded us of the clearance section located at the far back of the store. There were so many great deals including $150 shoes for $39.99!

Next up was Fossil sporting some very unique bags this season. If you're looking for something truly different, stop by to check them out---all on sale of course!

I really love Fossil watches and an extra 25% off sweetens the deal.

Camo is in at Calvin Klein. 
Love this cozy and comfy dress to wear with booties in the fall.  Which color combo is your favorite?

Bloomindales Outlet had incredible handbag deals with an extra 40% off of the sale price!
Many higher-end bags were under $100.00!

And what did I buy? These really comfy leather flats at J. Crew. With the extra 40% off discount, I paid just $29.99!
Now that's a real bargain!

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