Finding designer clothes for bargain prices

July 24, 2008 4:29:37 PM PDT
The slowing economy has many of us changing how and where we shop for clothes. That's bad news for high-end department stores. Many are reporting losses. Some are even closing. But bad news for those stores means good news for shoppers looking to score real designer bargains. While many of the pricier stores are reporting losses, stores like Marshall's, Ross and T.J. Maxx are seeing higher profits. It seems everyone these days -- even those who can afford to shop wherever they want -- are looking for ways to stretch their dollar.

Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana -- designer labels we never imagined we could find are now at Houston discount stores! Places like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less are tapping into a whole new designer market. A BCBG top that retails for $160 was marked $24.99 when we found it at Marshalls. True Religion jeans can cost $200-$300 at the department store. We found them for $89.99.

Over in shoes, designers like Kate Spade, Cole Haan, and even Coach are everywhere. We found a pair of gold Roberto Cavalli's priced at $89. In boutiques they would be $300!

"When I come shopping here I always look for the brand names," said one shopper we caught up with.

Those name brands are becoming more and more common. The off-price stores know that many shoppers want the designer stuff, but don't want to pay full price.

According to a recent survey by the retail industry, 66% of shoppers say because of the economy they are reassessing how and where they shop.

Shopper Cecilia Moylan wondered, "I don't understand how they can have these designer brands for prices so low."

Here's how they do it: Buyers for the off-price stores go to market looking for merchandise every week. They negotiate low prices, even on really expensive stuff.

In comparison, department stores and boutiques usually go to market only a few times a year and aren't able to negotiate those better deals.

"I shop Saks , I hit the sales but I love my Marshalls, my T.J. Maxx, my Ross," explained shopper Ghadi Ali.

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