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  • Writer's picturePamela Tucker

LEARNINGS AND MORE FROM MY DAY AT WOODBURY COMMON

Updated: May 8

Last week's visit to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets was an enjoyable and enlightening shopping experience. Owned by Simon Property Group and situated about an hour north of New York City, I had not been there for more than a decade.

According to a Simon press release published on April 24, 2024 mentioning new stores added to the Woodbury Common lineup in 2024 including David Yurman, Maison Margiela, Sferra and Ladurée, it noted Woodbury Common"is one of the world's most successful outlet centers and features the largest collection of luxury outlets in North America." Woodbury Common, per the press release, has more than 250 stores, generates annual sales over $1.2 billion and draws over 10 million shoppers annually. Impressive statistics and in a league of its own!


The long gap in time since I've been there is attributable to my persistent beliefs that outlet stores sell:

(1) Inventory from previous seasons

(2) Imperfect items

(3) Goods made specifically for these outlet stores which could be fabricated of lower quality materials


I prefer buying top quality fashion bought during pre-season or early in the season. Assuming I'll miss out on a these pieces if I don't buy as soon as I see what I like, I generally don't wait for sales. Paying full price is not always a great feeling! The combination of wanting see the inventory and experience outlet shopping, I took the bus from NYC Port Authority to Woodbury Common.


Knowing it would be impossible to visit each store and see the range of brands focusing on one or more of these product lines-- clothes, handbags shoes, jewelry and cosmetics, I picked a handful of stores to visit and to check against my long held beliefs. If I found things I liked, the trip would be even more successful! My day of exploring and shopping was relaxing and pleasant. Key takeaways are below.


Friendly and Helpful Sales Professionals

I interacted with at least one person in each store visited. A sales associate greeted me in each store I entered, and noticed others were greeted as well. The sales associates gave me space while I browsed. After some time I was asked if I'd like help, had any questions or needed a size.


When I had a question the sales associates responses were courteous and genuine. This experience was surprisingly outstanding! When compared with (full price) stores I shop in New York City, it was overall better in Woodbury (As a side note, when I shop in one particular brand's department in a certain department store in New York City I'm followed closely and feel under pressure and investigation! In another department store in New York City I have to circle the floor a few times to find a sales associate so I could try-on items and / or pay. (Note: Woodbury Common was not crowded when I visited. Therefore, I do not know if this warm and welcoming theme happens during busy times. However, I believe the effort would be there everyday.)

Outlet Shopping is a Phone Call Away

Prior to this visit, I did not know outlet stores offer the service of placing phone orders or email orders for delivery of merchandise. (Note: unsure this is made available by all brands at the outlet.)


I learned about these options while shopping in two stores. When I told the sales associate at Molton Brown, a favorite bath and body brand that I was buying just one item, the brand's signature scent, the fantastic orange & bergamot liquid hand soap because I had reached my comfort level on the amount of bags I could carry back home, she gave me a card with a phone number and an email address and said I could place orders that way. She was friendly and eager to assist.


While shopping at Clarin's I overheard a sales associate tell a shopper phone orders placed to this store are accepted and I felt she encouraged that option. Clarin's was another store with friendly and helpful sales associates. The day after my purchase I received a thank you email from my "beauty coach," Shirley (sales associate). That email was unexpected! While I receive thank you notes from sales associates in full price stores, I did not expect this to happen when shopping at an outlet.


Questions About Products and Prices are Lingering

As previously noted, I am under the impression clothes sold at outlet stores are not always the same current season items sold in full price stores that are then discounted for the outlets. For the most part, I thought brands sell previous seasons' merchandise or manufacture specific lines for outlet stores. I know I will never have this question accurately answered as the hundreds of companies selling in outlets have distinct strategies. However, I decided to "test my theory" at Theory, another favorite brand I've worn for years.


I l have several pairs of Theory's Treeca pull-on pant in good linen that were purchased at full price in a store, ($295).The link is here: https://shorturl.at/aqrHJ What looks to be a similar pair of pants is listed on the Theory Outlet website. The link is here: https://shorturl.at/eilV4 The fabrication is almost the same. I decided to see if these pants were available at the Theory Outlet. (Please refer to table and hang tags photo below for details).


The Theory outlet had a pair of linen blend pull on pants, priced at $195 and the hang tag showing a comparable value of $325. However, the style name of these pants in the outlet store did not match with the style name of the pants listed on the Theory Outlet website. (as well as not matching with the style name of the pants in the full price store) The eye opening finding was I could not figure out what the original price of $325 was referencing.

The Theory.com website shows only one pair of linen pants for $325. It is the high-waist wide-leg pant in good linen. A slim cop is not a wide-leg pant!


The outlet and outlet website also had a 20% off promotion if two items are purchased. I bought one pair of these linen blend pants. I'm happy with this purchase but still puzzled if the pants I bought were ever sold for $325 and if not, why the comparable value is not listed at $295, the full price for the similar crop pants


Full Price

Theory - Woodbury Common

Style Name

Treeca Pull-On Pant in Good Linen

Slim Cropped Pull-On Pant in Stretch Linen-Blend

2 hang tags: (1) Treeca Slim Crop (2) Treeca Pull On Soft Crunch

Fabrication

62% Linen

55% Linen

55% Linen


36% Viscose

41% Lyocell

41% Lyocell


2% Elastane

4% Elastane

4% Elastane

Price

$295

Comparable Value: Price reduced from $325.00

$195.00 (Now 40% OFF)

$325 / Reduced to $195

Planning to Return

My day at Woodbury Common was stress free, educational and productive. These are not usual terms describing a shopping trip! Furthermore, I lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and in the low 70's so I was able to walk and clocked over six miles. Yes, I did walk in circles and probably could have been more efficient; but, wanted to be sure I visited certain stores and followed a list.


The trip did not convince me to rely on outlet shopping to meet my retail needs. However, it did make a dent in my long standing beliefs that the merchandise offered would not be to my liking and I bought a few things I'm sure I will use. I am already thinking about returning to Woodbury Common and rather than waiting a decade, maybe going in a few months.

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