Hints and Tips for Factory Shopping

  1. Whilst every effort has been made to provide accurate information on our website, factory shops have been known to close, move and change their hours without warning. If you are travelling a great distance to a store it is advisable to phone first to check that it will be open when you plan to visit. Our website www.factoryshops.co.za and ourThe A-Z of Factory Shops Newsletter will keep you up to date regarding changes as we hear of them.
  2. Since not all stores accept credit cards, it is best to check whether you need to have cash on hand.
  3. Many genuine factory shops in the industrial areas have irregular trading hours. Most close early on a Friday and those run by members of the Muslim community are closed during the lunch hour on a Friday. In addition, shops in these areas are generally closed from just before Christmas to early or mid-January for their annual holidays, so if you plan to visit at this time of year it is advisable to  phone and check first.
  4. Try and plan your route before setting out, making a note of the stores you wish to visit. It is important to be realistic and not to cram too many shops into a morning, although I always find it is a good idea to have a list of ‘spares’ in case you have extra time. 
  5. As a general rule, the latest merchandise is sold in the factory shops about six to eight weeks after it appears in the retail store.
  6. Make a note of your family’s measurements and colour preferences and keep these with you. If you have sons, don’t forget to note their collar sizes. This will eliminate guesswork and, as you cannot always exchange garments, it is important to buy the correct size. There is nothing worse than finding a marvellous bargain and being unable to buy it for fear it might not fit.
  7. As very few factory shops will exchange merchandise, always check for flaws before purchasing. (The shops that allow exchanges will  insist on a till slip.) If the garment is unlined, inspect for holes by holding it up to the light. Holes are commonly found where the label has been removed or slashed through. A coloured sticker may indicate a hole or conceal it.
  8. The majority of manufacturers go to great lengths to protect the identity of the retailers they supply, which is why you will often find that labels have been removed from the clothing. It’s great fun trying to identify the labels, especially when you recognize an up-market brand. There is nothing wrong with buying a garment without a label – in fact, as most are found on the inside of the garment, your friends won’t be able to tell where bought it anyway. Let them guess whether you shop at a trendy boutique or in an industrial area!
  9. In some shops during the winter months, the combination of concrete floors and lack of heating can cause your teeth to chatter, so remember to dress warmly.
  10. It is more fun to shop with a friend, who will give you a second opinion and keep you company, which is a good idea – especially in isolated areas. If possible, it should preferably be someone who will not be looking for the same size as you. Factory shops often have samples (|only one item in a particular size), and the argument over who gets the garment could run the friendship!
  11. Always take along a cool-bag when you go on a shopping expedition. Many producers of frozen vegetables, cheese, meat, chicken etc. now have shops, and if you have to travel a long distance, it is best to keep these products cold. The same applies if you intend buying chocolates during the summer months.
  12. Factory shopping is very different to normal retail shopping. Don’t go expecting fancy changing rooms and plush surroundings, as these are highly unusual- but this is a small price to pay for the bargains you will find. The reason the merchandise is being sold for less is that the manufacturer is not spending money on chic interiors, and therefore has lower overheads than does the retailer.
  13. As most factory shops are in industrial areas, you could have difficulty locating a suitable coffee bar along the way, so if you are planning a day’s expedition, it is a good idea to take along a few snacks – and I always find a pack of wet wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer invaluable.