Outlet malls may not be the money-savers they appear to be. As noted on Consumerist.com, the new book, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, describes manufacturers’ suggested retail prices, against which the outlet store prices are compared, as “often fabricated to give consumers the impression that they are getting bargains.” The book also notes that such malls are situated in remote locations not just because the rent is cheap, but also to promote spending. Shoppers who make the trek to such shopping outposts “feel compelled to spend more to make up for their ‘sunk costs’ in time, energy, and gas.”
Never underestimate the science involved in retailing. Since at least the 1920s, retailers have been honing their skills of separating shoppers from their money.