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Sample Sales

Hidden 90% off designer sales, but sharpen your elbows

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Updated 20 Feb 2015

Sample sales are a fashion industry trick to discard excess stock, and can give 70%+ discounts on near-perfect gear. Yet before you head down, there are some crucial things to know...

  • There's no returns policy if you buy the wrong size or colour. Your legal rights apply, though, if it's faulty (see Consumer Rights).
  • Quality may not be perfect - inspect before you buy.
  • You'll often pay a small entrance fee.
  • It's all about the luck of the draw.
  • You may need to queue for a long time.

As you always have to go in person, location is crucial. Many of the sample sales are in central London, but we've also seen a good smattering around the rest of the UK.

Prepare yourself to bag a bargain

Sample sales tend to send people into a frenzy. They're not held in stores, but hotels or warehouses instead. It's a crammed, elbows-up atmosphere with not much time to make decisions. So read the tips below carefully to get yourself prepared. And never spend more than you can afford - do a budget.

DON'T expect a returns policy, but you still have rights

DO check the item's condition - it may not be perfect

DON'T dawdle - go early, and maybe more than once

DO benchmark a top price before you go

DON'T go crazy - have a game plan

DO try before you buy or measure everything

DON'T buy into trends

Know of a sale we've missed? Bagged any bargains or did you walk away seething and empty-handed? Tell us about it in the Sample sales discussion