Have you ever shopped at a Coach Factory Store, better known as a Coach Outlet? I wanted to share a little of what I have learned about shopping the Coach Outlets, so you can make better-informed purchase decisions.
- The Coach Factory Stores basically stock two kinds of merchandise: items that had been in full-price retail stores (or Coach Boutiques, as they're known) prior seasons and are getting clearanced out, or items that are created specifically for the outlets.
- The items created specifically for the outlets take up the vast majority of floor space there. Their designs are based on best-selling full-price Coach bags. They're all made with the same quality of materials as full-price Coach merchandise, but they often don't have the same amount of detail work (hardware, stitching, closures) on them. Because of that difference, when you pick them up they often feel lighter. They're also cheaper to produce since there isn't as much time spent on detail work in the factory. They are labeled with an “F” in the serial number.
The best way to tell which bags had previously been in retail boutiques is to ask a sales associate. I did notice a couple things: They didn't have the “F” in the serial number, but had a target sign stamped on it instead. Also, the prices on the Coach “boutique” merchandise tended to be a little higher. Those prices were 30-40% off while most of the factory merchandise was 50% off. Fashionistas tend to gravitate towards these bags, because they don't hold the stigma of being purchased at the Coach Factory Store like the bags that are only sold at outlets do.
Now you know!