Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH are two retail chains offering high-end fashion and accessories. However, they operate quite differently. Saks Fifth Avenue focuses on full-price luxury goods, while Saks OFF 5TH offers discounts on designer brands.
This article examines the key differences, pros and cons of each, and other factors shoppers should know.
|Saks Fifth Avenue
|Saks OFF 5TH
|Full-price luxury department store
|Off-price designer goods
|Higher end brands
|Discounted current & leftover designer stock
|Full retail prices
|30-70% off regular prices
|More services and amenities
|More bargain-focused experience
|Larger product selection
|Smaller product selection
As you can see, Saks OFF 5TH offers significant discounts compared to the regular Saks Fifth Avenue locations. But Saks Fifth Avenue provides a premium shopping experience with more products and services.
Saks Fifth Avenue Overview
Saks Fifth Avenue operates around 40 stores across major US cities as well as its ecommerce site. As a luxury department store, Saks focuses on providing an elegant, upscale shopping environment.
Brands stocked include higher-end and designer labels across categories like clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, and home goods.
The Fifth Avenue flagship location in New York City particularly emphasizes lavish experiences like personal styling services, dining, events, and even an art collection. Pricing at Saks Fifth Avenue sits at the higher end typical of luxury goods.
But the brand caters to affluent shoppers seeking out aspirational designer fashion.
Saks Fifth Avenue Pros
- Extensive designer brand selection
- High-end shopping experience
- Knowledgeable customer service
- Alterations and styling services
- Wish list and gift card options
- Free standard shipping and returns
Saks Fifth Avenue Cons
- Very expensive full retail pricing
- Limited sales or discounts
- Smaller overall store footprint
- Longer wait times for alterations
Saks OFF 5TH Overview
In contrast to Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH focuses entirely on discounted designer fashion and accessories.
With around 120 locations, most Saks OFF 5TH stores are found in outlet malls, though some standalone locations exist.
The off-price model centers around offering leftover inventory and order cancellations from the regular Saks Fifth Avenue at 30-70% discounts.
Compared to Saks Fifth Avenue, store environments at Saks OFF 5TH are simplified to keep costs low.
Shoppers will find open floor plans and industrial fixtures rather than a lavish interior finish.
With its off-price discounts, Saks OFF 5TH attracts more budget-conscious yet fashion-minded bargain hunters.
Saks OFF 5TH Pros
- Significantly lower prices
- Good availability of designer brands
- Constant influx of new markdowns
- More frequent promotional sales
- Easy returns with relaxed time limits
Saks OFF 5TH Cons
- Discontinued or irregular stock
- Smaller individual store size
- Limited dining and services
- Messier in-store experience
- Longer shipping times
Direct Comparison of Saks Fifth Avenue And Saks OFF 5TH
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s directly compare some key differentiators across factors that matter most to shoppers.
- Pricing and Discounts
Pricing differs enormously between Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH. As a full-price luxury retailer, Saks Fifth Avenue sells items at the standard cost set by brands. There are almost no sitewide sales.
While promotions occasionally discount certain designer items 10-20%, most goods sit at MSRP.
In contrast, Saks OFF 5TH’s entire premise lies in discounts. As an off-price store, its inventory comes discounted 30-70% every day compared to prices you would find at Saks Fifth Avenue. Final sale markdowns can reach even higher discounts on certain high demand items.
Winner: Saks OFF 5TH for its consistent and significant discounts off typical luxury pricing. Bargain shoppers who are patient can find especially impressive deals.
- Product Selection & Availability
Saks Fifth Avenue locations boast a broader, deeper selection across luxury categories given their larger store footprint. Shoppers can find a strong assortment of high-end to contemporary brands. As a full-line store, Saks Fifth Avenue carries complete breadth of products like cosmetics that Saks OFF 5TH lacks.
In comparison, individual Saks OFF 5TH stores have condensed selection reflecting tighter spaces and constantly changing off-price inventory. Brand selection remains designer focused but often represents past seasons or discontinued items.
Product availability is unpredictable and certain sizes or styles sell out rapidly during coveted flash sale events.
Winner: Saks Fifth Avenue thanks to its vast selection that remains reliably in stock across categories. Saks OFF 5TH’s leaner product mix means shopping feels more scattershot.
- Brand Mix
As Saks Fifth Avenue operates as a premier luxury retailer, shoppers can reliably expect to shop elevated designer brands like Gucci, Valentino, Burberry, and Louboutin carried at full price points. While some more affordable contemporary labels are sold, Saks focuses on aspirational fashion positioning itself as a style authority.
Saks OFF 5TH sells a blend of true luxury names alongside premium high street brands for more accessible pricing. For example, shoppers may find discounts on Theory, Vince, or Rebecca Minkoff items alongside specialty products from Prada, Tom Ford, or Balenciaga. This blend makes Saks OFF 5TH a unique off-price destination.
Winner: Tie depending on preferences. Saks Fifth Avenue is better for buyers who only wear true high fashion. But Saks OFF 5TH offers a more varied mix at lower price points.
Saks Fifth Avenue Or Saks OFF 5TH: Which Is Better For You?
Determining whether Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH best fits your needs depends on personal shopping habits, style, and budget.
Saks Fifth Avenue makes most sense for shoppers who…
- Strongly value premier designer labels
- Appreciate high-touch customer service
- Regularly purchase at luxury prices
- Prefer in-store experiences and amenities
Meanwhile, Saks OFF 5TH tends to better serve people who…
- Enjoy the thrill of the designer bargain hunt
- Mix high/low fashion pieces into wardrobes
- Want significant savings over retail prices
- Primarily shop online for convenience
- Prefer outlet malls over department stores
For shoppers on the fence, visiting both Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH locations allows you to get a feel for their distinct shopping atmospheres. That hands-on experience can provide greater clarity around which best matches your priorities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH.
No. While Saks OFF 5TH and Saks Fifth Avenue are affiliated luxury retail chains, they operate quite differently. Saks Fifth Avenue is the premier full-price department store experience offering designer fashion goods and services at regular retail pricing.
Saks OFF 5TH provides discounts on a mix of designer leftovers, irregular inventory, and other cancelled merchandise at its various outlet locations. So while you find some product crossover, Saks OFF 5TH functions as the budget-friendly offshoot.
Yes, products sold at Saks OFF 5TH are guaranteed authentic. Inventory at Saks OFF 5TH comes directly from regular Saks Fifth Avenue locations and designers. It represents order cancellations, runway overstock, or leftover items from previous seasons. Each product meets the same designer standards and integrity you’d expect.
In 2022, both Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH were acquired by private equity firm Insight Partners from the Hudson’s Bay Company in a $711 million USD deal. This shift to new ownership means Saks OFF 5TH will likely continue evolving in coming years to further differentiate itself in the off-price space.
Shoppers should expect continued off-price discounts but potentially also some elevated in-store experiences. Saks OFF FIFTH may also benefit from digital investments and modernized operations overtime under Insight’s direction.
Saks OFF 5TH keeps prices low because its off-price inventory comes at significant savings driven by the retail fashion ecosystem. As a department store, Saks Fifth Avenue places large regular orders with designers each season to carry products in-store and online.
When those items fail to sell through at full price, excess inventory gets liquidated to Saks OFF 5TH stores as a discount channel. Luxury brands would rather recapture some revenue from overstock than let products pile up in warehouses or risk brand dilution if heavily marked down in mainline stores.
By selling these leftovers and cancelled orders, Saks OFF 5TH creates major value. The dynamic allows shoppers to access true designer fashion at up to 70% less versus Saks Fifth Avenue.
In closing, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH appeal to distinct fashion shoppers. Saks Fifth Avenue provides a premier luxury experience with designer brands sold at full retail prices. Meanwhile, Saks OFF 5TH delivers deep discounts in an off-price environment, though with less consistency in product availability and store services.
Ultimately, Saks Fifth Avenue suits shoppers who value polished experiences and brand prestige above costs. For bargain hunters mixing high and low end fashion, Saks OFF 5TH may better fit both budget and style needs.
Assessing personal priorities and shopping frequency can clarify which destination makes sense if choosing between the two. But both Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH remain go-to department store chains for access to coveted designer styles year-round.