Outlet malls save shoppers bundles

By Katherine Kisiel

Arizona Summer Wildcat

It's that time of year again when department stores put up their 50 percent-off signs on exciting merchandise that still resembles the 1995 summer stuff.

But wait, don't whip out that credit card until you hear what's going on in Casa Grande.

Since 1991, Casa Grande has been the spot where two outlet malls attract thousands of shoppers who enjoy discount prices year-round.

As you take the 45-minute drive, west on Interstate-10, the first sign that catches your eye is the Tanger Factory Outlet Center.

Tanger has around 50 national manufacturers and fashion designers.

Among the well-known factory stores at the center are Anne Klein, Liz Claiborne, Guess, Reebok, and Nine West.

Carol Portter, general manager of Tanger said the idea behind an outlet store is the merchandise is sold at factory prices.

Portter said the savings at a factory store versus a department store can be anywhere from 30 to 70 percent.

For example, if you bought a Guess product from a department store, Portter said you would pay what Guess charges as well as the mark-up the department store tacks on, which can range from 20 to 70 percent on top of factory prices.

"Tanger is a great place for people to buy their favorite name-brand items at discounted prices," Portter said.

The Tanger Center is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached by exiting I-10's exit 198.

If you continue down the Arizona freeway, you will find a second outlet mall.

The Casa Grande Factory Stores of America is located just four stops later at exit 194.

Casa Grande outlet mall is a bit smaller than Tanger but still has over 30 shops to enjoy.

June Hollen, manager of the outlet mall, said the biggest store at the outlet is Bed, Bath and Linen, where tons of people come to stock up on their home accessories.

Hollen said there are other quite popular stores such as Adidas Footwear, Book Warehouse, Bugle Boy, Van Heusen, and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

If shopping wears you out, then fill up at the Yogurt House Eatery, which sells soup, salad and sandwiches, plus a variety of deserts and, of course, yogurt, Hollen said.

"It's nice for people to come to the outlet for great values on merchandise. There's such a fine selection as well as quality," Hollen said.

The Casa Grande outlet mall is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you are on the lookout for summertime savings and want an excuse to leave the city, then head up to the factory outlet stores and find yourself a bargain.

The Cat's Meow is a Wildcat staff member's chance to hunt down summer entertainment. Katherine Kisiel is a journalism senior.

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