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April 2005

Outlet and About

Hunting down Munich’s designer bargains

They’re the stuff bargain hunters’ dreams are made of: factory outlets. It’s like being able to go to the sales every day of the year. However, for every hit, an outlet shopper has to accept an awful lot of misses—and, nine times out of ten, will return home empty-handed, failing to believe that the rubbish on offer was ever worthy of its so-called “original” price, let alone of its “exclusive” label.

So how do Munich’s outlets compare? Are there really bargains to be found, or are the city’s outlets no more than a glorified jumble sale? Time to put them to the test—a task that would require someone with experience. Someone who’s spent enough time in shops of all kinds to know what’s really a good deal. And someone with the patience to trek around Munich for a few hours, rummaging through rail after rail of clothes she doesn’t really need. Yes, there was only one person for it—my mother-in-law.

Our first stop was the Loden-Frey outlet at Triebstrasse 36–38, a few minutes’ walk from the Olympia Einkaufszentrum on the U1. The shop is divided into two parts: the first, containing men’s and women’s clothes from the likes of Burberry, Bogner, Moschino and Van Laack, as well as a small selection of men’s Tracht, and the second, a quaint little yellow “Trachten Häusl” packed with women’s Tracht. Mother-in-law was in her element. Much like a bird of prey circles, then swoops on its victim, she took just a few seconds to take it all in, and then dart straight to the interesting bits. You see, no seasoned bargain hunter wants to waste hours trawling through rails and rails of blouses that look as though they’ve been there ten years, when at the end of the day, you’re going to save, what, € 20 if you’re lucky? No. Serious bargain hunters aim for the big boys. How about a fabulous, full-length cashmere coat with fur trim, reduced from € 800 to € 199? Now we’re talking. Indeed, if you’re after a coat, it’s definitely to be recommended. For as well as the more classic styles, Loden-Frey stocks a great selection of wilder Italian numbers—I was sorely tempted by a cream woollen 1960s-style jacket, and a swinging fuschia hip-skimmer, with a big fluffy collar. Doris Day, eat your heart out.

Likewise, the Tracht section is worth a look. From men’s loden coats reduced to just € 99 or Trachten jackets slashed from around € 700 to € 199, the savings are substantial. There’s a great selection of dirndls, too (I even spotted one very similar to that used by the company in its advertising campaign last summer), priced between € 60 and € 200. Sadly, though, the pink Janker jacket that my tester had had her heart set on wasn’t to be found, and so, despite racing around for “just one last look” another three times, we left empty-handed. Disappointed, yes, but equally proud that we’d managed to stand strong and resist the temptation of a € 5 handbag (“I’ve got so many handbags already”), a € 13 pair of pink spotty La Perla knickers (“nice, but I’ve got nothing that’d match”) and a € 17 purple scarf (“it looks like it’s about to fall apart.”)

And so, on to Bogner, which is conveniently located just next door…
Bogner isn’t renowned for its ski wear for nothing. This is breathtakingly gorgeous stuff. One look at the black, catsuit-like ski overall, and I’d mentally transformed myself into one of James Bond’s beauties. Yah baby! I have long since convinced myself that € 298 is a perfectly acceptable price to pay for such a garment. Ski clothes don’t come cheap at the best of times, and when you’re saving € 500 at the same time, well, you can’t go wrong, can you? The store does also stock a small selection of sports- and daywear, with knockdowns of around 40 percent. But, in case I haven’t made my point clear, the only thing to come here for is those overalls. This is not skiwear you buy because you need it—it’s skiwear you buy because you want it. Oh, and mother-in-law? She’s already got one!

Others to Try...

• For a younger look, check out the Marco Polo outlet (Lena-Christ-Strasse 46, Martinsried). Reductions of up to 60 percent are available on both men’s and women’s fashion. The store is open Mon.–Fri. 10 am–8 pm and Sat. 10 am–4 pm and can be reached by taking the U6 to Grosshadern, then bus number 268 for three stops away from the city.
• Once you’ve found your perfect outlet, head to Etienne Aigner for all the accessories to go with it— with leather belts and handbags costing around 30 to 50 percent less than list price. Take the U2 to Moosfeld, leave the station by the Kirtarweg exit, take a right and the outlet is at Parsdorfer Weg 10, near the DEKA building (open Mon.–Fri. 10 am–7 pm and Sat. 10 am–4 pm).
• But outlets aren’t all about designer numbers. Sporty and outdoor types shouldn’t miss the Timberland outlet at Höllriegelskreutherweg 3, Baierbrunn (S7, Baierbrunn), for reductions of up to 50 percent and the SportScheck Hotspot (Grünwalderweg 34, Unterhaching), which offers 50 to 70 percent reductions on sports goods, spread over 700 square meters. The store is open Mon.–Fri. 9 am–8 pm and Sat. 9 am–6 pm.

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