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Keeping Track: Outlet stores

Discount-shopping boom fuels a rise

Americans' appetite for cheap, name-brand clothing is fueling a boom in outlet shopping centers.

In 1993, only 183 outlet centers were sprinkled across America. Now, 294 grace the US and their numbers are growing.

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Companies with the fastest growing number of outlet stores? Vitamin World, which added 133 stores between 1998 and 1999. Bugle Boy added 119 stores; Vans, a shoe company, has 76 stores; and GNC, a nutritional-supplement store, increased by 40 stores.

Americans spent $255 million at outlet stores in 1999. Overall, shoppers spent $1.16 trillion at shopping centers, more than half of all nonautomotive retail sales.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society