That’s not to say that there aren’t offerings from last season: an alligator handbag, which was sold in main stores, is reduced from £1,390 to just £320.
But there are also other designs that, I’m told, have been made for the outlet.
‘Other bags here are not from the collection, but they are made in the same place and from the same leather,’ an assistant tells me.
When I ask how I can tell, she says the Michael Kors logo is printed differently, and the lining is different, too, with a circular design on the boutique bags, and square on the outlet ones.
I examine their ‘bag of the moment’, a Jet Set Medium Travel Tote, which I’m told has been made for the outlet. It gives an ‘original’ price of £240 (you can certainly buy a similar tote for this price in Selfridges) and a ‘reduced’ price of £159. A closer look at the tag inside displays the £240 figure as a ‘manufacturer-suggested retail price’.
When I contact Michael Kors’ head office, they say the information I have been given in Bicester is incorrect.
‘Michael Kors outlet stores do not offer at any time seconds, irregular or inferior quality merchandise,’ a spokesman tells me. ‘Our UK outlet products are either excess inventory from our full-price retail distribution or prior season designs.’
I ask for clarification. Why did Bicester staff say there were ‘outlet-only’ lines? Is the spokesman accepting they exist but implying they are manufactured from old designs? Despite several e-mails I receive no response.
The outlet bag is different to the more expensive Selfridges one: it doesn’t come with a dustbag, or zip across the top, and it feels stiffer. Instead of double, it has single-stitched seams and a brash MK logo on the front rather than ‘Michael Kors’ lettering.
Not that many people shopping at outlet stores seem to be questioning whether the bargains are quite as good as they seem.