Difference Wiki

Outlet vs. Store: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 3, 2023
Outlet is a retail store selling goods directly from a manufacturer at a discount. Store is a retail establishment selling a wide range of goods to consumers.

Key Differences

An outlet typically refers to a retail establishment that sells products directly from manufacturers, often at reduced prices. Stores, in contrast, are general retail outlets that sell a variety of goods from different brands and manufacturers without necessarily offering discounted prices.
Outlets are often associated with specific brands, offering products from one manufacturer, including overstocked or out-of-season items. Stores, however, usually carry multiple brands and offer a diverse selection of products, including the latest and full-priced items.
The shopping experience at outlets is often focused on bargain hunting and finding discounted items. In contrast, stores provide a more traditional shopping experience, with a focus on customer service, product variety, and in-season merchandise.
Location-wise, outlets are frequently found in specialized outlet malls or on the outskirts of towns, while stores are commonly located in urban shopping districts, malls, and high streets.
Outlets may have a more utilitarian layout with less emphasis on store design, focusing on the volume and discounts of products. Stores, however, often invest in store design and layout to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Comparison Chart

Product Source

Direct from manufacturer
Multiple brands and manufacturers


Generally discounted
Full price, regular retail pricing

Product Variety

Limited to specific brand(s)
Wide range from various brands


Often in outlet malls or city outskirts
Urban centers, malls, high streets

Shopping Experience

Bargain-focused, less emphasis on ambiance
Diverse, customer service-oriented, ambiance-focused

Outlet and Store Definitions


A means of expressing one's emotions or talents.
Painting is a wonderful outlet for her creativity.


A place where items or supplies are kept for future use.
The warehouse served as a store for surplus goods.


A point in an electrical system where current is available.
He plugged the lamp into the wall outlet.


To deposit or keep in a place for future use.
He stores his wine collection in a climate-controlled cellar.


A retail establishment selling manufacturer-specific goods at discounted prices.
I found great deals on designer clothes at the factory outlet.


An online platform for purchasing apps or digital goods.
She downloaded the app from the Apple Store.


A channel through which something is released or discharged.
The river outlet flows into the ocean.


A retail establishment selling a variety of goods.
She went to the grocery store to buy milk and bread.


A market for goods or services.
The new technology found an eager outlet in the smartphone industry.


A large quantity or supply of something.
The country has a large store of natural resources.


A passage for escape or exit; a vent.


A place where merchandise is offered for sale; a shop.


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


A stock or supply reserved for future use
A squirrel's store of acorns.


What types of goods do stores sell?

Stores sell a wide range of goods, including clothing, electronics, groceries, and household items.

Are outlets always cheaper than stores?

Outlets often offer discounts, but this isn't always the case, especially for in-season or popular items.

Are outlets part of the brand they sell?

Outlets are often affiliated with the brand they sell but operate as separate retail entities.

What is an outlet?

An outlet is a retail store that sells goods directly from the manufacturer, often at discounted prices.

Can you find branded items in stores?

Yes, stores typically carry items from multiple brands and manufacturers.

Are store layouts different from outlets?

Yes, stores often invest more in interior design and layout compared to the more utilitarian design of outlets.

Can you return items bought from an outlet?

Yes, but return policies may differ from regular stores.

Are there exclusive products in stores not found in outlets?

Yes, stores often carry the latest and exclusive products not available in outlets.

Can outlets be found in regular shopping malls?

Outlets are more commonly located in specialized outlet malls or outside city centers.

Are outlets only for clothing?

No, outlets can sell a variety of goods, including electronics, homeware, and more.

Is the quality of products in outlets lower than in stores?

Not necessarily. Outlets may sell overstock or out-of-season items, but the quality is usually similar to store items.

Do stores offer online shopping options?

Many stores have online platforms allowing customers to shop remotely.

Do stores have a wider product range than outlets?

Generally, yes. Stores typically offer a broader selection of goods from various brands.

Do outlets have regular inventory updates?

Outlets may not update their inventory as frequently as stores, focusing more on overstock and past-season items.

Do outlets sell damaged goods?

Some outlets may sell slightly imperfect or damaged items at a discount, but this is not always the case.

Do stores offer sales and discounts?

Yes, stores frequently have sales and promotional events offering discounts.

Is customer service different in outlets compared to stores?

Customer service in outlets may be more self-service oriented, while stores often focus more on personalized service.

Can you find local products in stores?

Yes, stores, especially local ones, often stock products from local suppliers or artisans.

Are store purchases eligible for manufacturer warranties?

Yes, products bought from stores generally come with standard manufacturer warranties.

Are there loyalty programs in stores?

Many stores offer loyalty programs for regular customers, offering discounts and rewards.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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