This year, Torontonians welcomed two new shopping heavyweights to the Canadian retail landscape. In February, Saks Fifth Avenue opened its doors at CF Toronto Eaton Centre and CF Sherway Gardens to eager luxury customers. Just one month later, discount shoppers rejoiced with the opening of three Saks OFF 5TH locations at Vaughan MillsToronto Premium Outlets and the Outlet Collection at Niagara.

If you’ve never ventured into a Saks Fifth Avenue location, the high-end US department store is synonymous for its designer men and women’s fashions, and prestigious customer service programs. Saks OFF 5TH outlet stores, while not nearly as glamorous as full-priced locations, offer a wide-variety of brand name fashions at deep discounts of up to 70 percent off retail prices. 

One brand. Two concepts. What is a shopper to do? Trying to decide whether you should plan a shopping trip to Saks Fifth Avenue or Saks OFF 5TH? We’ve got a rundown of the differences you can expect to find when shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue versus Saks OFF 5TH.

Store Design & Layoutdifference between saks fifth avenue and saks off 5th difference between saks

We would be lying if we said that the atmosphere at Saks Fifth Avenue was anything short of breathtaking. The store’s design is modern, spacious and glamorous. Here, you will not find a single broken mannequin, mismatched shoe or unfolded shirt. The store is perfection, not to mention the lighting fixtures. When in doubt, look up!difference between saksdifference between saks

On the flip side, the store environment at Saks OFF 5TH is bright, trendy and organized, but not at all intimidating. Departments are clearly labeled with hanging signs and cute neon quotes. Don’t forget to take a peak at the items lining the checkouts. Similar to a Winners store, this is where you’ll find unique trinkets and small gifts. Shout out to Saks OFF 5TH for stocking items from local brands like Toronto Popcorn Company and SS Print Shop.

Customer Service

difference between saks fifth avenue and saks off 5th
Need assistance? Saks Fifth Avenue is here to help. There are sales associates at every corner of the store waiting to serve you. We dare you to try picking up an item without having someone dart over to assist you.

difference between saks fifth avenue and saks off 5th

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we found that the availability of sales associates at Saks OFF 5TH locations were few and far between. While it’s understandable that not much employee assistance is required on the sales floor, we would expect to find all cashiers on deck to accommodate customers looking to speed through the checkout process.

The Perks

difference between saks fifth avenue and saks off 5th

Being a luxury shopper of Saks Fifth Avenue does have its perks. This department store’s laundry list of premium customer services does not fall short. As a Saks Fifth Avenue shopper, expect to benefit from perks like personal shopping and tailoring services. Visiting the CF Sherway Gardens location? Add some decadence to your shopping trip with luxury dining and the convenience of elevated grocery shopping.

difference between saks fifth avenue and saks off 5th

Unfortunately, the shopping experience at Saks OFF 5TH does not hold a candle to the value-add you receive from shopping at the full-price department store. However, what Saks OFF 5TH lacks in perks, they make up for in price savings. You really do get what you pay for.

Have you spotted any differences between Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH?

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Images: Saks Fifth Avenue (Sherway) and Saks OFF 5TH (Vaughan Mills) by Cristina Avila
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