Bargain hunters shop 'till they drop at outlet stores
By Pan Zheng
FACTORY outlets are hugely popular today, and there are plenty around Shanghai.
Outlets originated in the United States and at first were for direct factory sales. Then multiple outlets were grouped into shopping malls. Today factory outlets are a form of independent retailing.
Outlets attract customers with wide selection and big discounts on many brands, including world-famous labels. Many excellent offerings are from past seasons, not suitable to be displayed with current season offerings - so they're sold in outlets.
Outlets entered the China market in 2002 with the Yansha Outlets in Beijing. In Shanghai, there are a number of outlets for bargain-hunters.
Bailian Outlets Plaza
Not all outlet centers in China are successful, but here's one that's a real magnet. With an investment of more than 470 million yuan (US$74 million), Bailian Outlets Plaza opened in 2006 in Qingpu District.
It's a comprehensive shopping square focused on top-tier international and domestic brands, as well as many fashion labels.
It's divided into three sections with 250 stores. Section A with around 40 stores mainly sells discounted products from Armani, Mondi and BMW Lifestyle. Section B contains more than 150 sellers of world-famous sports and leisure brands, as well as famous domestic brands. It includes Adidas, Lacoste, Nike and Reebok. Sections A and B cover more than 50,000 square meters.
Section C is the catering zone, serving Chinese and Western food and providing a children's playground.
Discounts range from 30 percent to 70 percent, while most are around 50 percent.
The shopping center is only a 30 to 40-minute drive from the city center. It provides 1,200 parking spaces.
Address: 2888 Huqingping Rd
Drive: Take A9 Expressway, exit at Zhaoxiang, turn right, drive 100 meters.
Public transport: Take bus Shanghai-Qingpu Line, Shanghai-Zhujiajiao Line or Jiading-Songjiang Line, get off at Fangjiayao.
Meilan Lake Outlets
Meilan Lake Outlets is smaller than the Qingpu center, but it offers around 70 big global and domestic brands, including Prada, Versace and Gucci.
Opened in 2009, it covers 10,700 square meters and offers a pleasant environment with Nordic-style construction and decor. The Meilan Lake setting is attractive.
Address: 6655 Hutai Rd
Drive: Take Outer-Ring Elevated Road - S126 - turn right on Meidan Road - turn right on Luofen Road - drive 270 meters and turn left at destination.
Public transport: Take Metro Line 7 and get off at Meilan Lake station.
Foxcity, a world outlet chain group, entered the Shanghai market in 2004, with its first store in Shanghaimart. In 2005 it opened the bigger Foxcity Factory Store in Xujiahui to satisfy the growing demand.
Covering around 15,000 square meters, it offers a wide selection on world famous brands, notably mid-range brands. Discounts range from 50 to 70 percent.
Shoppers get free parking with their VIP cards or consumption receipts in the market. Public transport is recommended because of the downtown location. It's ideal for those who don't want to go to the suburbs.
Address: 899 Linglin Rd
Drive: Take Inner-Ring Road and exit at Xujiahui.
Public transport: Take Metro Line 1 or 4 and get off at Shanghai Stadium.