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The state of outlet retail in 2022

Here’s a snapshot of how outlets are faring amid inflation. We know consumers are price-conscious and indoor mall traffic is up, but will consumers flock to outlets to find deals?

  • In June, visits to outlet malls were down 6.7% from last year and down 14.3% from 2019, per Visits to indoor malls were down only 9.5% from 2019.
  • To encourage more shoppers, Simon Property Group launched National Outlet Shopping Day, which offered deals and giveaways at its 90 outlet properties over two days in June.
  • Last year, only 10% of US internet users planned to shop at an outlet store during the holiday season, compared to 57% digitally and 47% at department stores, per the National Retail Federation. Outlet retailers could increase their share of holiday sales by capitalizing on shoppers looking for the biggest discount.
  • After an unimpressive Q2 and an executive leadership change, Gap Inc. is expanding its Athleta brand with two new outlet stores this fall. But Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti told Reuters Gap should instead sell one of its underperforming brands (like Athleta) or make some other large-scale cut.
  • Best Buy is also expanding its outlet locations, which feature open-box and clearance items at reduced prices. The retailer plans to double outlets in FY 2023 and expand the product assortment to include computers, gaming consoles, and mobile phones.

Why we care: Though it seems like a match made in heaven, data suggests shoppers aren’t interested in spending their precious dollars (or gas mileage) shopping at outlets. But this isn’t scaring away retailers from expanding their outlet presence and betting on deals winning over dollars.


This was originally featured in in the Retail By the Numbers newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.