An outlet store or factory outlet is a brick and mortar or online retail store in which manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public. Traditionally, a factory outlet was a store attached to a factory or warehouse, sometimes allowing customers to watch the production process like in the original L.L. Bean store. In modern usage, outlet stores are typically manufacturer-branded stores like Gap grouped together in outlet malls. The invention of the factory outlet store is often credited to Harold Alfond, founder of the Dexter Shoe Company.
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