On Saturday, my roommate and I went to the Shanghai Foxtown Outlets in the Songjiang District, the first by the Swiss group outside of Europe. After about an hour’s drive plus RMB25 in tolls we arrived at a rather stark, featureless white building. For all the advertising that’s been done, it was rather empty. She and I soon found out why. There weren’t very many stores and the prices were hardly those of factory outlets. For example: Adidas sneakers were about US$60 and New Balance running shorts were about US$25. I complained these were the full retail prices I’d pay in the US. My roommate explained that international brands are about 30% more expensive in Mainland China (as compared to Hong Kong) and therefore, these are actually discounted prices. However, I felt I could have gotten a better deal just going to places in Shanghai retailing these brands during the sale period. Another thing we found strange about the place is that we were in a store sellingvery high end brands, including a combination of Prada, DKNY, and a few other high-end designers when I pointed out a Furla purse to my roommate. As she used to work for Furla, she looked at it and then commented, ‘I think it’s probably fake. Furla doesn’t have any retailing agreements like this in SH. I don’t think it’s real.’ Not that I’m the expert on Furla purses but it looked pretty generic, like those seen at the markets and not like the Furla bags I’d seen in Singapore. After I started thinking about it, the Prada wallets looked pretty fake too. All-in-all the trip to the outlets was a bummer–we spent more time stuck in SH traffic than we did at the mall and neither of us bought anything. Hopefully, Foxtown will be able to get more brands to lease space in the mall and actually price stuff at factory outlet prices.
There’s another outdoor outlet mall on the outskirts of Shanghai that I’ve also heard has difficulty pricing according to the concept of ‘outlet mall,’ but based on the report, it sounds like it has a few more (international) brands and therefore may be worth the drive some other time.
On the way back home, I asked my roommate to drop me off at the Gubei Carrefour so I could buy a duvet for my bed, as its starting to get cold. Before I went to Carrefour, I walked around the mall a bit on a (seemingly never-ending) quest for a nice wallet and knee-high boots. For those ladies looking for larger shoes in Shanghai, I would recommend you check the stores around Gubei Carrefour. Although I didn’t actually ask about shoes, they seemed like they carried a few larger size shoes and also, other people have recommended looking there, too.
When I was looking for a duvet, I was completely overwhelmed and had to call my friend for advice. First of all, I’ve never purchased a duvet before and second I had forgotten the size of my bed. Without me even asking, the sales lady comes over to help me choose one (wow! service in Carrefour, its amazing). She kept recommending the ones that were the most on sale (ie originally RMB599, on sale for RMB199, so a discount of RMB400). I thought, ‘how is this good for sales at Carrefour?’ And she kept recommending wool, but after feeling the wool and calling and asking my friend, I knew I didn’t want wool. Both my roommate and friend suggested I spend about RMB200, so at least she was in the right price range. But she also kept telling me, ‘we’ve all bought these ones,’ ‘these are the ones we bought.’ After she said that, knowing the way my preferences differ from Chinese, I knew I definitely was not going to get that one. Aaaaaaah! Lost in an aisle of duvets that just don’t seem right, with the store lady making me touch all of them. Finally, I struck upon something that seemed right: a duvet filled with down! Again, she helped me touch that one, oh yeah! Down feels so nice. Yes, I like this one. I want this one and it’s even in my price range! But the lady insists, no, that’s not a good one. Don’t get that one. You have to get the wool one. Well, I was done with her advice; down it is, on to something else.
I’ve been searching for a yoga mat and since many of my Chinese friends recommend I do yoga, I figured yoga should be popular so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a yoga mat. Well, its more difficult than I thought. So today I decided I’d make the trek to 1 of 5 Decathlon stores in & around Shanghai. I chose the one at the Brilliance West Shopping Mall.
I’d been to this mall before and thought to myself how American and home-like it felt, despite the fact it was way out in the dirty, dumpy, è€ç™¾å§“ part of town. It definitely felt like a mall from southern California (though it doesn’t really have many American stores, only Nike, Lacoste, Starbucks, and Papa John’s pizza), with its open-air style, wide spaces, and plaza/performance area in the center. As I was looking on the internet trying to figure out the bus to get there, I stumbled across another blog who explained why it felt so American: it was designed by someone from Las Vegas. And apparently I’m not the only one who appreciates and enjoys the feeling of this mall, this guy(!) just raved about it, too. (He has pictures, too, and recommends one of the restaurants). Despite the fact there’s not much I want to buy there (although I did buy a coat last time), its a nice place to hang out in good weather and would be a nice place to go eat with friends if it wasn’t so far away. And there are other white people there, so you won’t be stared at like an anomaly. The Brilliance West Shopping Mall is at Jianhe and Xianxia West Road. But I don’t recommend getting lost around there because the area is dirty and unappealing.