I am a big sucker for upscale and luxury everything, especially fashion. I love it all – Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, you name it. Unfortunately, I don’t always want to spend the amounts that are needed in these stores. Then I look for the next best thing – discount department stores where with some time investment and luck I have been able to find many to-die-for deals before. My two favorite such discount retailers are Nordstrom Rack and Saks OFF 5th in Metro Pointe at South Coast mall in Costa Mesa.
This being California, you expect high fashion, eternal sunshine, and beautiful views, and all of that is fulfilled by this South Coast mall. You can feel like you are in a movie just walking to palm-lined storefronts and observing all the good looking people.
While I love both of those stores, one stood out a little more than the other this time and usually. But let me go over some points to explain why.
I started with Nordstrom Rack.
As you enter, you are greeted by subdued atmosphere, where everything is orderly, accessible, but without much excitement. This is the idea though and all Nordstrom Rack stores are fairly similar, whether they are in California or Georgia. You can immediately understand where to go for what as signs are clear and high up on the walls. I always love the choices in this store and the way things are grouped by age and sizes.
This particular store is very big, nicely lit, and clean, but built for mass shopping and can remind of a warehouse a little bit. You won’t find unnecessary decorations, only what is needed, which in a way is less distracting from deals, and this store has plenty of them.
I spent some time looking at designer handbags, and then glanced at toy section, which is not large, but sufficient if you want to find a little surprise for a child. Shoes were not on my list that day, but normally I find whatever I need and then some.
It’s always nice to discover clearance racks among regular priced merchandise. All regular priced merchandise is already discounted heavily when compared with Nordstrom. I saw beautiful designer winter coats and jackets for sale and tried a few. I loved the cleanliness of the fitting rooms, had literally no complaints.
Customer service here is great and I can always find somebody within reach if I have any questions. Even though all register were open as it was Saturday, the line was moving kind of slow, so keep that in mind if you have limited time. Returns are easy otherwise, just as long as you are not trying to return a brand new bra with tags, as I did once - it won’t fly here.
I am a Nordy Club member and often shop on the app mainly because of convenience. If I have to return something, I come to this store and then do some shopping at the same time.
What I really like about this store is the selection of accessories, clean fitting rooms, great bargains, shoe selection, clearance stands, and friendly customer service. What I don’t like is the no fun atmosphere, serious tone, small toy section, and long lines.
My next destination was Saks OFF 5th at the same mall, Metro Pointe.
Let me tell you right away, that I absolutely love the atmosphere there! As soon as I walk in I notice the neon lights everywhere and that puts me in a party mode right away. People with this mode tend to spend more, I think, and that might be the reason behind this type of entertainment. I am in my 30s, so I’m not sure how I would feel about it if were 20 years older, but now I absolutely love it.
Designer sections are clearly labeled here, so I found it easier to shop by brand name than at Nordstrom Rack. The store looks organized nicely, but it did not have that many available sales associates, in fact most of the time I didn’t see anybody at all. Granted, it was a slow shopping time, Friday morning, but still… I also have heard that customer service is a bit hard to deal with for returns, but that’s not my experience. I never had any problems.
As I walked around that day, I felt like the party continued. I absolutely loved the handbag section! I saw so many cute designs and bright colors that my head was spinning and my wallet got scared. Lots of areas in the store have sales signs and the deals are really good. Shoe section had big clearance going on for summer shoes.
Jewelry section looked amazing and upscale, with glass everywhere and bright lights. It is very different at Nordstrom Rack, where jewelry department seems abandoned and a bit neglected.
- 20% off your order
- Free Shipping on orders of $99+
- 80% Off Clearance
I loved all the coats I saw, but I usually buy them in spring, so all I did here was window shop. Toy section is also not large, but has some cute finds.
Dog section though is totally awesome, while Nordstrom Rack doesn’t even have one. I loved and bought dog toy Instagram pillow simply because it was irresistible.
All in all, I left the store very happy and with elevated mood. I really feel that the atmosphere can encourage shoppers to spend more or to go home faster. I want to party and shop at Saks OFF 5th all day long, but leave Nordstrom Rack before I tire myself out from all the shopping and trying, even though both stores offer very comparable deals. I wish more retailers would understand that these days brick-and-mortar shopping is all about experience because everything else can be found online.
So at the end of the day and this review, Saks OFF 5th definitely has my vote!