Tips & Tricks: Outlet Mall Shopping

by Heather Larson | Photo © Outlet Collection

Unless we have more money than we need, we all want to get the lowest price possible for clothes, shoes, accessories, luggage and household decor. Since their inception in 1980, outlet malls have been the quintessential experience for shopping without draining your bank account.

Although the concept has changed over the years—at first outlet malls had to be 90 miles from any regional mall—and the bargain hunting has become a bit trickier, you still can score excellent buys.
Here’s the scoop on three of the most-visited malls in the Northwest.

Tanger Outlets, 1500 SE East Devils Lake Road, Lincoln City, OR
tangeroutlet.com/lincolncity

The outlet complex in the coastal resort town of Lincoln City was the first one built in Oregon, in 1989. Sixty stores now serve 2.5 million beachcombers, tourists and residents each year. Tanger (rhymes with hanger) provides a place to pick up what you might have left behind or markdowns that suit you. New this year, Rue 21 connects with Eddie Bauer Outlet, Book Warehouse, Harry and David, and many other shops.

Frequent shoppers can get exclusive coupons and offers by joining the TangerClub (tangeroutlet.com/tangerclub).

“We also have a best price guarantee here,” says Diane Kusz, general manager of the mall. “That means if you purchase merchandise from any of our stores and find it for less someplace else within 30 days, we’ll refund the difference to you in cash.”

Where to Stay: The Shearwater Inn (theshearwaterinn.com) offers a close-up beach view and a free breakfast delivered to your room. To learn more about visiting Lincoln City, go to oregoncoast.org.

Seattle Premium Outlets, 10600 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip, WA
premiumoutlets.com/seattle

Just steps away from the Tulalip Resort Casino, 125 stores vie for your business. The Seattle Premium Outlet Mall originally built in 2005 on the Tulalip Tribes Reservation underwent a large expansion in 2013 that included adding several new stores. The latest additions include Diane Von Furstenberg, Dooney & Bourke, MaxStudio.com, Swarovski, Theory, The North Face, Vince and an Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet. They join shopper’s outlet favorites like the Armani Outlet, Columbia Sportswear, DKNY and the Loft Outlet.

“Although name-brand and designer merchandise sells for 25 to 65 percent off regular retail prices everyday, promotions and sales throughout the year give our shoppers even greater deals,” says Michele Osgood, director of marketing.

Where to stay: Book a night at the elegant 370-room Tulalip Resort (tulalipresortcasino.com) next to Seattle Premium Outlets so you can relax in style between visits to the outlet stores. To learn more about visiting Snohomish County, go to snohomish.org.

The Outlet Collection, 1101 Supermall Way, Auburn, WA
outletcollectionseattle.com

Formerly dubbed the SuperMall of the Great Northwest when it opened in 1995, this marketplace was renamed The Outlet Collection after a $35 million makeover in 2013. Shiny new floors, prim window box displays and the revamped food court gives the complex a fresh feel. This now-pristine outlet has new tenants like Michael Kors, Coach Factory, Nike Factory, Brooks Brothers, The Loft, Chicos, H&M, Skechers and J. Crew Factory. Stores that have been there since the SuperMall’s inception include Burlington Coat Factory, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy Outlet, and many others for a total of 130 discount shops.
No need to bring an umbrella even if the weather’s foul because the Outlet Collection is all situated under one roof – the only indoor outlet mall in the Pacific Northwest.

Where to Stay: Best Western Plus Peppertree Auburn Inn (peppertreeinns.com/auburn) is just one-half mile away. For more information about visiting Auburn, go online at auburntourism.com.