Ever wondered what happens to surplus sale stock, customer returns or factory seconds? Check out our guide to a selection of the best bargain places in the country that offer top brands without the designer price tag.
Based in Swindon, the John Lewis home outlet was established largely to solve the problem of how to sell on un-used customer returnsgenerated through its online sales. Stock changes rapidly and there are electrical items to be found as well as furniture, all at a fraction of the high-street price. Kemble Drive, Swindon. 01793 512454; johnlewis.com
Marks & Spencer
There are 29 M&S outlet stores throughout the UK, so you shouldn╒t have to travel too far to find one. The majority of lines are reduced by at least 30 per cent and the shops sell a mixture of home, clothing and beauty products. Enter your postcode on the website to find your nearest branch. 0845 302 1234; marksandspencer.com
The FV Outlet - a reduced section that is incorporated into a Furniture Village store - offers a selection of beds, dining furniture and upholstery with prices slashed by 70 per cent. Offers include brand names such as Tempur and Vi-Spring. Participating stores include Bristol, Croydon, Darlington, Gateshead, Guildford, High Wycombe, Norwich, Poole, Southampton, Telford, Tunbridge Wells and Wednesbury. 0800 7833 833; furniturevillage.co.uk
Sofa Workshop sends ex-display bargains to one of four showrooms, which all have sale areas. There's a constantly changing selection of classic and contemporary sofas to choose from, all of which are available for immediate delivery. Participating stores include, Birmingham, 0121 633 4966; Croydon, 020 8667 0212; Ealing, 020 8579 0693; Reading, 0118 959 5645; sofaworkshop.com
Feather & Black
Feather & Black's Hammersmith clearance store knocks an impressive 70 per cent off damaged, end-of-line and returned furniture. If Hammersmith is a bit out of your way, try one of the clearance sections within high-street stores, such as Chichester, Shrewsbury and Watford.
Habitat is always of the moment, with the latest homeware looks, which means collections change frequently. Based in the Manchester suburb of Wythenshawe, its clearance store offers end-of-line and returned items, allowing you to pick up designer pieces at a fraction of the original price. Southmoor Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester. 0161 902 0441
Darlings of Chelsea
Offering a quality selection of leather and fabric sofas, Darlings of Chelsea has a savings section in its Fulham showroom, as well as displaying reduced stock online for everyone to see. Each reduction is fully explained, so you know whether it's ex-showroom stock or a customer return. 9-13 Fulham High Street, London. 020 7371 5745; darlingsofchelsea.co.uk
The Witney showroom is literally on the doorstep of the main factory, so bargains don't have far to travel before they're snapped up. There are savings of up to 70 per cent and if Witney is a bit of a trek, try one of the company's clearance floors. Showrooms include Beverley, Harrogate, Norwich, Tunbridge Wells and Bournemouth. 3 Bridge Street, Witney. 01993 776682; wesley-barrell.co.uk
There are 6,000 sq ft of bargains to be found in Dwell's Milton Keynes store. A great place to look if you're after a contemporary piece - you'll find end-of-line items and pristine customer-returned sofas, sideboards, mirrors and accessories with up to 60 per cent off.
Patriot Drive, Rooksley, Milton Keynes. 0845 678 1002
Located in its Risborough showroom, the Ercol Factory Outlet has great offers on ex-display items, returns and seconds. If you don't fancy the trip to Buckinghamshire, you can look online to view its full discounted stock list, too. Summerleys Road, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. 01844 271800; ercol.com
There's a multitude of bargains to be found at Multiyork's showroom in Suffolk. Well known among savvy shoppers as a great place to find a bargain, it's worth a look if you're after a piece of furniture that's British-made and built to last.
Toast in Llandeilo is a store of two halves; one side is a normal showroom and the other a discount shop selling seasonally-rotated sale stock. You can find reductions of up to 70 per cent on clothing and homeware. 4 King Street, Llandeilo, Camarthenshire. 01558 824330; toast.co.uk
A favourite for both contemporary and country kitchens, Le Creuset has 13 discount outlets throughout the country with reductions of up to 30 per cent on current and discontinued cast-iron cookwareand stoneware. 0800 373 792; lecreuset.co.uk
For towels, bed linen and robes, as well as mattress protectors and toppers, with up to 70 per cent off, check out your local Christy discount store. Dotted around the UK at outlet centres, there's bound to be shop near you. Check online to locate your nearest store. 0161 368 1961; christy-towels.com
Denby has 15 outlet shops throughout the country, but die-hard Denby fans should head to the visitor centre in Derbyshire where there's another store packed full of discounts on new and current stock, as well as seconds, starting at 25 per cent off RRP. Plus, there's an outdoor play area to keep children entertained and when you've shopped until you're ready to drop, head for the on-site restaurant for much-needed refreshment. 01773 740799; denby.co.uk
Villeroy & Boch
The Villeroy & Boch factory shop in Wandsworth offers an impressive 80 per cent off seconds and discontinued lines including tableware, cutlery, glasses and accessories. 67 Merton Road, London. 020 8875 6006
Due to the massive success of Cath Kidston's two factory outlets, the Oxfordshire branch has had to relocate to larger premises. Along with the sister store in Ireland, it sells kitchen accessories, bedding, towelling, fabric and bags. Stock includes some of the older and discontinued prints with up to 30 per cent off. Cath Kidston, Bicester Village, 01869 247358.
Cath Kidston, Kildare Village, Co. Kildare.
With a log fire and complimentary tea and biscuits, there's a charming, rustic feel to Burleigh's factory outlet, housed in an old Victorian warehouse in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Old crates are used to store the goods and there's up to 50 per cent off factory seconds including Asiatic Pheasants, Burgess Chintz, Pale Roses and Calico designs.
Based in the heart of the Potteries, the Emma Bridgewater factory shop in Stoke sells factory seconds and discontinued lines at reduced prices. Visit on a Tuesday morning and you can take a tour of the factory, before popping into the on-site cafe where you can have a go at decorating your own pottery.
CARPETS AND SOFT FURNISHINGS
If your floors are in need of a face-lift, it's worth taking a trip to one of Axminster's sale shops in Buckfast or the firm's home town in Devon. Both sell seconds and discontinued lines from Axminster and its Irish subsidiary, Curragh Carpets. Traditional patterned designs, plains, textures and tonals, as well as rugs, sheepskins and underlay are all on offer at reduced prices.
Brintons sale store is based in the Midlands town of Kidderminster and sells discontinued carpets, seconds-quality and roll ends at competitive prices. Carpets are all sold as seen and can be taken away that day. Stourport Road, Kidderminster. 01562 635434; brintons.net
The Curtain Factory Outlet
With over 500,000 metres of fabric for sale, The Curtain Factory Outlet stocks everything from upholstery and curtain fabrics to black-out blinds and poles. Prices are jaw-droppingly low, with designer ranges on sale for a maximum of £6.99 per m plus VAT. In addition there are measuring, making and fitting services available. 269 Ballards Lane, London. 020 8492 0093; curtainfactoryoutlet.co.uk
Elanbach factory shop
Winning the prize for possibly the grandest location, Elanbach's shop is based at Llangoed Hall, a country house hotel in Brecon. It sells end-of-line fabrics from £2 per m along with a selection of other goods such as cushions, bags and quilts. The products are usually last season, prototypes or items made for photoshoots. After you've shopped, why not treat yourself to a delicious lunch or afternoon tea in the hotel?
Standfast Factory Fabric Shop
Situated next door to the factory that prints fabrics for Sanderson, Morris & Co., Harlequin and Zoffany, among others, Standfast in Lancaster sells slight seconds from just £1 per m.Staff are on hand to help, so if you spot something you like on the high street, it's worth contacting them first to see if they have what you're looking for at fabulous reduced prices.
Designed to take some of the stress out of searching for the right product, as well as saving you money. Visit this vast online shopping mall and take advantage of its great price comparison facility, which means you can make sure you always get the best deal.
Displaying a massive 1.6 million home products at any one time, mydeco.com searches for the best offers available from high-street retailers to ensure that customers get bargain deals without the hassleof having to search them out. The website also allows you to search by price so you can filter results to find exactly what is out there to matchyour budget.
High-street brands such as Duresta, Feather & Black and Sweet Home London sell clearance, end-of-line and returns stock at discounted prices. You can shop by brand or by room for furniture and homewares without stepping outside. Deliveries will be made within 14 days and, if you have any queries, there's a 24-hour customer service line.
OUT OF TOWN
Factory outlets house a great selection of bargains all in one spot. Here are a few of the best:
York Designer Outlet
Clarks Village Outlet
Based in Stoke-on-Trent, the Johnson Tiles outlet sells slight seconds, discontinued lines and surplus stock at reduced prices. They also have regular sales (call the store for details) with special promotions on selected lines. 01782 524040; johnson-tiles.com
Chesneys showroom in North London offers reductions on ex-display surrounds and discontinued ranges. Plus, it has accessories such as fire baskets and grates on offer.
Whether it's the kitchen, bathroom or a general spot of decorating, the Fired Earth factory outlet is always worth checking out. Based in Adderbury, near Banbury, there are discounts of up to 70 per cent off and stock constantly changes. 01295 814399; firedearth.com
Graham & Brown
Wallpaper manufacturer Graham & Brown has a factory outlet in Padiham, Lancashire, with a great selection of ranges on offer at any one time. 01282 680442; grahambrown.com
UNDER ONE ROOF
The seven exciting HomeSense stores offer a huge 60 per cent saving on branded products from around the world.
TK Maxx has 213 stores throughout the UK. With around 50,000 items in stock at any one time, shops receive up to 10,000 new items each week and offer up to 60 per cent off RRP.
This enormous warehouse in Northamptonshire is full of massively reduced home furnishings, which have largely been sold off by property developers. So whether you're after a single lamp or a whole home's worth of furniture, this place could be the answer to your prayers.
Lombok Clearance Store
Based in Fulham, this is a Lombok clearance store with up to 70 per cent off sample products, discontinued lines and slightly damaged stock.
Lombok, Unit 2, The Gasworks, 2 Michael Road, London. 020 7751 8550
With outlets in Liverpool and Cambridge, National Brands has new deliveries of stock arriving throughout the week and each store houses an extensive range of furniture from a number of the UK's leading branded retailers. Entry to the warehouse requires a clubcard, which you can obtain with a single payment of £1. Liverpool, 0151 521 8967; Cambridge, 01223 846505; national-brands.co.uk