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I kept hearing about how PacSun has converted or is converting 200 stores into "value" stores, and that it is asking brands to create special, lower-cost garments to allow PacSun to sell the goods more profitably.
PacSun, the industry's largest customer, didn't return my emails or calls asking for more information, so I decided to find some value stores myself.
I called 20 random PacSun stores in Southern California, and found four value stores: Laguna Hills Mall, The Market Place in Tustin, Corona Crossings and Lakewood Mall.
The store staff readily explained the concept: value stores are in between an outlet and a regular store. Internally, they are called value stores, but the outside of the stores are not labeled because the locations aren't in outlet malls so they can't announce they are a value store, the staffs told me. I've also been told the outlet team is doing the buying for the value stores.
I visited both the Laguna Hills Mall and Tustin value stores.
Basically, value stores don't carry newer brands like RVCA nor many of the latest styles from the big brands. I noticed a lot of the same simpler garments that are also carried in regular stores. The difference is that in value stores, those simple garments are front and center, rather than tucked in the back.
For instance, Volcom thermals for $19.50, marked down from $29.50, are in the front of the value store but in the back of a regular store. Sale items that are in the 70 percent off section in the back of a regular store are moved up and highlighted in the value store, including Billabong nylon men's jackets for $9.99, marked down from $49.50. Billabong Girls cotton cardigans for $19.99, marked down from $34.90, had a prominent position in the value store but were in the back of the regular store.
I also saw product in the value stores that I didn't see at the full-priced store I went to, including V-neck, solid-colored, very thin Volcom and Zoo York T's for $9.99, regularly $19.50. There was also a large section of thin, solid-colored, pullover Hurley sweatshirts for $6.99, marked down from $29.50.
Value stores also have a lot of private label, including long sleeve T's for girls for $4.99.
There is some full-priced merchandise at value stores, but not a lot of the higher end pieces that can be found in full-price stores. A lot of the same juniors dresses - at the same price - are at both stores.
In the value stores, I saw a fairly wide selection of Volcom, Hurley, Zoo York and Fox goods, along with other brands as well.
According to a recent press release, PacSun operates 126 official outlet stores and 806 PacSun stores.
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