Retail confession: I have a love/hate relationship with outlets. Who doesn't love a bargain, though? And many times, a brand's outlet store is your "last chance" to buy that one piece from last season that you passed up and simply can't get out of your head. Other than any price savings or last-ditch-effort to procure something you didn't buy and you've been kicking yourself for months over, the hate comes flooding down. Outlets are typically staffed with associates who lack product knowledge and brand heritage, let alone any initiative to actually help you find something, keep the store tidy and organized, or prevent the place from mimicking more of a garage sale and less of an actual place of business.
Mercantile concept. Imagine taking a typical J.Crew store, staffing it with the expected happy-go-lucky and uber trendy/preppy college crowd, merchandising the store beautifully with props from Martha's Vineyard to Montauk - but the surprising twist - all the merchandise is from the "factory outlet", cleverly disguised as the "Mercantile" - and the prices match, to boot!