An outlet store, factory outlet or factory shop is a brick and mortar or online store in which manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public, cutting out the middle-men. Traditionally, a factory outlet was a store attached to a factory or warehouse, sometimes allowing customers to watch the production process such as in the original L.L. Bean store. In modern usage, outlet stores are typically manufacturer-branded stores such as Gap or Bon Worth 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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