This Lesser-Known Chain Offers A Treasure-Hunt of Discounted Designer Clothing

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A Southern chain sells designer clothing at deep discounts. United Apparel Liquidators (U.A.L.) buys discounted pieces and makes them available to its customers at prices significantly lower than the retail, the New York Times reported.

The business offers at least an initial 70 percent discount on its clothing, although it will mark pieces down further. Brands like Givenchy, Chanel, Phillip Lim, Prada and more await discovery on the racks. And with such substantial markdowns, out-of-state shoppers willing to travel might save more than the price of a plane ticket shopping designer brands there.

U.A.L has six stores in Southern cities, which include three near Nashville, as well as locations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Austin, Texas.

Bill and Melody Cohen, owners and founders of the small chain, don’t do any advertising, even though they’ve been in the business for 37 years. Instead, they gather business through word-of-mouth, making the stores a kind of insider secret. That doesn’t stop customers from traveling to reach a U.A.L. once they hear of it, although it perhaps prevents the stores from getting overrun.

Part of the chain’s sales approach is the you-never-know-what-you-may-find setup. Shopping there can be like shopping at a thrift store, since pieces are typically only available in a few sizes, and the racks include a treasure-hunt mix of brands. The chain has a Hattiesburg warehouse that ships clothing to its stores five days each week, meaning the selection is constantly updated.

Because pieces come to U.A.L. through closeouts, even the employees don’t know day to day what will appear for sale. And the Cohens keep exactly what routes they come by their merchandise secret for the good of the business (after all, informing potential competitors could hurt their own selection).

But to fashionistas looking for a bargain, the ins and outs of the business aren’t the points of concern. And although not everyone is ready to make a pilgrimage from out of state specifically to hunt down clothing deals, U.A.L. is worth keeping on the radar, just in case.

You can follow U.A.L. and see some of the company’s merchandise on Instagram.

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