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The Unstoppable Rise of Discount Shopping




  1. A deduction from the usual cost of something, typically given for prompt or advance payment or to a particular category of buyers.

Greg Norman by Off The Wall

Outlet stores, off-price retailers, and big box stores  

For decades, outlet stores have been a popular destination for shoppers of all ages. Vanity Fair was the first outlet multi-outlet mall to open in 1974 in Reading, Pennsylvania, and the trend snowballed throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Outlet malls offer a wide variety of well-respected merchandise at discounted prices, making them a great way to save money on clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Off-price retailing probably began in 1909 when the owner of Filene's in Boston decided to turn the basement of his store into an outlet for leftover goods from manufacturers and other retailers. He sold this merchandise at low prices, reduced at regular intervals. Today, the growth of stores such as Gabe's, Marshalls, and Ross is still strong. 

Gabe's by Off The Wall

And big-box stores such as Walmart and BJs got the idea to combine groceries with soft and hard goods beginning in the 1960s and through the 80's from a chain of hypermarket superstores founded in 1922 by Fred Meyer in Portland, Oregon. These types of stores have grown exponentially since then and the outlook is excellent through 2024. After that, depending on the economic status of shoppers nationwide, like all retail in the US, online shopping will continue to compete with brick-and-mortar growth. (IBISWorld)

What fuels the growth in all these sectors is simple: competitive pricing. Outlet stores do this in three ways: establishing themselves in remote locations to lower overhead costs in rent and payroll, manufacturing alternate wares using more cost-effective materials, or, like Greg Norman, selling their stock directly to consumers without having to split the revenue with general department stores. After 2024, the growth in outlet stores will continue both in brick-and-mortar and online. Sales of off-price retail stores will grow in 2024 as they pass savings along to their customers buying overstocked items from first-tier stores.

Shoe Station by Off The Wall

The largest and most reliable source of revenue for big box stores will continue to be their member bases throughout 2024. A company such as BJs has a prospectus of five million paying members out of a total of ten million. The most popular membership tier is the Inner Circle Membership, which promises significant product discounts to customers for the price of $55 per year.

BJs by Off The Wall

Overall, sales for brick-and-mortar stores in these categories will flourish 2024, but what happens as a result of their own competing online campaigns beyond that remains something to watch for.

Greg Norman by Off The Wall


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