Difference Wiki

Mall vs. Outlet: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 11, 2023
A mall is a large indoor shopping complex, while an outlet is a retail store selling products directly from manufacturers, often at discounted prices.

Key Differences

A mall is a large, enclosed space with a variety of stores and entertainment facilities, designed to be a one-stop shopping and leisure destination. An outlet, on the other hand, is a store or group of stores selling products from one or more manufacturers, often at reduced prices due to overproduction, last season's stock, or minor defects.
Malls offer a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, catering to diverse tastes and age groups. Outlets provide a more focused shopping experience, targeting bargain hunters and brand enthusiasts seeking discounts on specific brands.
Malls are typically centrally located in urban areas and feature an aesthetically pleasing, climate-controlled environment. Outlets are often found on the outskirts of cities or in rural areas, with a more utilitarian design focused on maximizing retail space.
Malls attract a broad demographic seeking a variety of products and experiences, from luxury goods to everyday items. Outlets primarily attract consumers looking for discounted brand-name goods, appealing to budget-conscious and brand-loyal shoppers.
Malls play a significant role in the local economy, providing employment and contributing to urban development. Outlets, while also contributing to the economy, often focus on offering competitive prices to attract shoppers from wider regions.

Comparison Chart


Broad shopping & entertainment destination.
Discounted brand-name shopping.


Urban centers, easily accessible.
Often outside city centers, less accessible.

Store Variety

Diverse range of stores and services.
Mostly brand-specific discount stores.

Price Range

Varied, from affordable to high-end.
Generally lower, discount-focused.


Luxurious, climate-controlled environment.
More utilitarian and straightforward.

Mall and Outlet Definitions


A commercial complex offering entertainment and dining facilities.
The mall has a great movie theater and a food court.


A store selling goods directly from a manufacturer at reduced prices.
I got this designer bag at half price from the outlet.


A modern plaza with a combination of retail and leisure outlets.
The new mall has a gym, a spa, and several high-end boutiques.


A point of sale specializing in end-of-line products.
The outlet sells last season's fashion at big discounts.


A pedestrian promenade with shops and businesses.
The outdoor mall was bustling with street performers and artists.


A retail store offering products from specific brands.
The Nike outlet had a great selection of running shoes.


A large enclosed shopping area with various stores.
We spent the whole afternoon at the mall trying out new clothes.


A shop selling surplus or slightly defective merchandise.
We found some great deals on electronics at the factory outlet.


A central place for community gatherings and events.
The Christmas fair at the mall attracted many families.


A distribution point for retail goods, often at a discount.
The outlet store near the highway is my go-to for bargain shopping.


A large, often enclosed shopping complex containing various stores, businesses, and restaurants usually accessible by common passageways.


A passage for escape or exit; a vent.


A street lined with shops and closed to vehicles.


A means of release or gratification, as for energies, drives, or desires
Exercised as an outlet for frustration.


Do outlets sell used or second-hand goods?

No, they sell new goods, often overstock or slightly imperfect.

Are malls only found in urban areas?

Mostly, but some are located in suburban areas.

Can you find luxury brands in malls?

Yes, many malls house high-end luxury brand stores.

Do malls have food courts?

Most malls have a variety of dining options, including food courts.

Are outlet goods lower quality?

Not necessarily; they are often surplus, last season's, or have minor flaws.

Is it cheaper to shop at outlets?

Generally, yes, due to the nature of the goods sold.

What is an outlet?

A retail store selling products directly from manufacturers, usually at discounted prices.

What is a mall?

A large indoor complex with a variety of retail stores, dining, and entertainment.

Are all outlets part of a chain?

Many are, but there are also independent outlet stores.

Are malls considered tourist attractions?

In some cities, large malls are tourist destinations.

Can malls be open-air?

Yes, some malls are designed as open-air complexes.

Are malls family-friendly?

Yes, they often have facilities and activities for all ages.

Do malls host events?

Yes, malls often host events, sales, and seasonal activities.

Is online shopping affecting malls?

Yes, online shopping has impacted foot traffic in malls.

Do outlets sell a variety of brands?

Some do, but many are brand-specific.

How has the pandemic affected malls?

The pandemic led to reduced foot traffic and increased safety measures.

Are outlets a good place for bargains?

Yes, they are known for offering good deals on brand-name products.

Do outlets offer the latest products?

Outlets often sell past seasons' or overstock items.

Do outlets have online stores?

Some outlets have online platforms, but not all.

Can you find outlets inside malls?

Some malls have outlet stores, but it's more common for them to be separate.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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