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Suitable Savings : The new Harris & Frank outlet undercuts prices at its other men's apparel stores.

August 12, 1994|GERI COOK

When the Jan. 17 earthquake demolished the Harris & Frank store in Northridge, the menswear chain found itself without a location in the San Fernando Valley and also without an outlet store. So it uncovered an almost invisible warehouse in North Hollywood and in April opened the Harris & Frank Warehouse Outlet, where first-quality men's apparel is sold at deep discounts.

This is actually an experiment for Harris & Frank. It's a lower-priced addition to its six other Southern California stores and an outlet for a line of men's sportswear it manufactures under the Alan Stuart label. President Fernando Lemus says, "Despite the inconvenient location, the customers are coming back."

Suits, sport coats, slacks, sweaters and shirts are on the racks at prices that will please any bargain shopper. Sizes run 36 to 50 regular, 39 to 50 long and 36 to 44 short.

In suits and sport coats, there are quality labels such as Le Baron, Hart Schaffner & Marx and Crickateer, most tagged at about half the regular retail price. A $725 Le Baron suit sells for $399, and a suit from Crickateer that sells elsewhere for $325 is marked $162.50. Petrocelli suits that regularly sell for $350 are on the racks for $175.

An all-wool herringbone sport coat by Le Baron regularly sells for $550 but here the price is $299. Some handsome coats from Mancillas that you would expect to pay $325 for are $259.

At most stores, popular Jaymar Sansabelt slacks sell for about $60. At the Harris & Frank Warehouse Outlet, you can expect a $36 price all the time. At the high end, 100% wool Bensol slacks that many stores sell for $150 are $90.

Unlike many outlet stores, the inventory is not made up of special purchases, but rather the quality goods found in the chain's other stores. It is also not a dumping ground for last season's leftovers. Most of the selection is current and there are no seconds or irregulars.

Several racks were loaded with sport shirts of all descriptions--short or long sleeves, silk or cotton, solids or prints. Figure price reductions of 50% off retail on the short-sleeved shirts and 60% on those with long sleeves.

The sweater department is particularly impressive, not just because sweaters are all about 60% off retail but because the selection is dynamite. The house label, Alan Stuart, is very visible, and there are some handsome Saxony sweaters.

Special orders are taken and some items not usually stocked at the outlet--such as tuxedos--may be ordered at a discount. A tailor is on the premises for fast alterations.

The storefront does not face the street, making it almost invisible, so look for the rather large sign on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, just north of Sherman Way.

Where to Shop

What: Harris & Frank Warehouse Outlet.

Location: 7306 Coldwater Canyon Ave., North Hollywood.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa.

Call: (818) 764-4872.

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