The Herald Sun has found that almost 75 per cent of women's clothing outlets at Melbourne's newest bargain basement mall are stocked with full-priced garments, with few discounts in sight.
One sales assistant at Direct Factory Outlets on Spencer St admitted that the discounted stock sold at her store was up to four seasons old.
Another estimated that 75 per cent of the stock in her store was being sold at exactly the same price as flagship stores in the CBD.
The Herald Sun went in search of a discount outfit for the Spring Racing Carnival, but got no change from $300.
Prices for racing outfits were the same as in the Bourke St Mall.
Disappointed shoppers Lisa Reynolds, 27, and Lana Bridgman, 25, from New Zealand, said the discounted stock was too out-of-date to wear to the races.
Sue Watson, 58, and daughter Isabelle, 20, from Northcote, said there was nothing in DFO to tempt them to part with their cash.
"We came here hoping to get some good bargains, but the stuff that's discounted is just rubbish," Ms Watson said.
"There's a lot of junk and a lot of expensive stuff."
The Herald Sun's findings follow a similar survey by consumer watchdog Choice, which found shoppers could get value at suburban factory outlets but often ended up blowing their budgets.
DFO spokeswoman Jenny Freyer said the city DFO store did not have as much discounted stock as its suburban counterparts because of the clientele it attracted.
She said city shoppers were more likely to want in-season items.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the stock in our suburban stores is discounted, but our city stores have more full-priced things," she said.
Choice, which will release the findings of its study this week, found a family could save more than $650 off the price of three outfits if they shopped at a suburban DFO.
But the study found that shoppers often spent more than they intended to.
Choice spokesman Chris Zinn said people spent more time and money at a factory outlet than at a mall.
He said unless people had shopped around and compared prices, they might not be aware they were buying full-priced goods.
"There's that expectation of a bargain and people go there thinking that they're going to save some money even if the reality is different," he said.
"The DFO brand is good enough to get people in the shopping centres."