Beware of buying designer bags in stores like Tk Maxx and Costco

The name of the game on this blog is ‘luxury on a budget’, and one of my greatest pleasures in life is my Mulberry bag (I want another one too!).

Now, they don’t come cheap, so I’m always hunting for ways to get one on the cheap (such as at a sample sale or at Bicester Village).

However, as much as a discounted designer bag gets me excited, you probably wouldn’t find me buying one at a high-street store, such as TK Maxx or Costco – where they are sold.

Designer bags sold at TK Maxx and Costco

I remember seeing my first designer bag in TK Maxx when I worked there in 2009ish. I think it was a Prada one and I couldn’t get over the idea that someone would pay £600 for a bag.

And the bigger the ‘Maxx has got, the more designer bags they stock.

In fact, in particularly posh areas, there are whole designer sections. The one on High Street Kensington is particularly impressive.

Why I wouldn’t buy a designer bag at TK Maxx or Costco

First off, take it from a former employee of TK Maxx, customers can be animals! They grab, scratch, throw the products around. It doesn’t matter to them if it costs £1 or £600.

Honestly, unless it was a properly good bargain (in clearance so very reduced), you’d get a less battered one from an outlet – or even go second hand where people really look after them.

But here’s the main reason – I’m in a ton of Mulberry buy and sell groups (because I’m after a certain discontinued bag), and keep seeing posts in there about fake designer items being an issue in these stores.

This is what happens. TK Maxx and Costco stock legit designer bags (and other items) at a cheap price. However, con artists come in, buy the bag, then return it a few days later, but hand over a fake instead.

The problem is, because the staff don’t know how to spot a fake, they accept the return and the bag goes back into rotation.

How to spot a fake designer bag

I’m certainly not saying that all the bags are fakes in stores such as TK Maxx and Costco, but it’s worth being really aware.

I asked my wonderful Twitter followers on tips on how to spot an imitation bag, which is below, but my best tip is to take a picture of the bag and post it in a that particular brand’s ‘fan’ group because they’re SO clever at spotting fakes.

Just stick the brand name in on Twitter, click ‘groups’ and join a couple.

If you’re interested in how you can bag a discount on designer items, check out the blog I wrote for Katy Kicker.

(I did ask Mulberry and TK Maxx for a comment, but they never got back to me).


  1. Tif July 5, 2023
  2. AlexBrod February 27, 2024
  3. Mark Arhipov February 27, 2024

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