Consumer Nation

Back-to-School Has Been ‘Terrific’: Tanger CEO


American consumers have been flocking to the outlet stores in search of bargains, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers CEO Steven Tanger told CNBC on Thursday.

“This has been a terrific back-to-school season,” the REITs’ CEO said. “Across the country our traffic has been trending up 4 to 5 percent. Sales are about the same, trending up 4 to 5 percent.” \(Read More: Back-to-School Sales Seen Up Despite Tepid Economy.\)

Consumers have been shopping at the outlet stores in search of value, Tanger said. “Outlets are the place where consumers can go direct to the brand and cut out the middle person,” he said. “So every day of the week they get the best value on the best brands in the world.”

Tanger operates 39 outlet shopping centers in the U.S. and Canada, with 2,500 stores operated by more than 435 different brand companies.

Product categories like handbags, furniture and children’s are seeing increases, Tanger said, while “The major international brands like Polo , Nike and Gap are doing very, very well.” (Read More:At Auctions for Rare Handbags, Bargains Get Rarer.)

Tanger Factory Outlet Stores has also seen little impact from an increase in online shopping. “For the past 15 years people have been shopping online, our sales have increased virtually every year,” Tanger noted.

But the company is still looking for new ways to engage consumers. It is embracing social media and mobile apps. “We have all kinds of social media interaction with our consumers to tell them what's happening in our stores,” he said.

Tanger also expects to finish the back-to-school shopping season strong. “The Labor Day weekend is usually a big weekend for us," he said. “Depending on the weather, we’re very optimistic about Labor Day.” (Read More:Back-to-School ‘Buys’ for Investors.)

Tanger reiterated that it all comes down to value. “In good times, people like a value and in tough times like these, they need a value,” he said.

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