For many, the concept of an outlet mall is associated with not only appealing deals on name-brand products, but also with driving long distances to get to the far-flung locations where outlets have traditionally been located.
But that is all changing — and changing fast. Many consumers already have access to "close-in" outlet centers, and in the not-too-distant future, many more outlets may be coming closer to home. Projects like Tanger Outlets at National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C., and New England Development’s Palm Beach Outlets in Florida are already giving area residents new and convenient outlet options. Not only are outlet stores growing and the outlet and discount segment expanding into new locations, but outlet retail is beginning to make its way into shopping centers alongside traditional mall retailers. The result is a new retail paradigm in which a blend of outlet stores and traditional retail — along with other new drivers like restaurants and theaters — which creates entirely new shopping options. In a few select cases, outlets are spurring some wholesale rethinking about traditional development formats, as outlet-only malls that are more akin to fully realized mixed-use centers have hit the ground running in cities like Boston.

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