unfortunately, shopping here in europe is more expensive compared to shopping back in the states. they rarely have sales and if you are looking for premium brands like boss, prada, gucci, etc. be prepare to pay full retail. here in germany, there is no such thing as knock offs. Italy however is a different story. VAT in Germany is 16%. You would pay this up front when purchasing goods and fill out a tax free form during the purchase, when you get to the border or airport, you can claim the taxes back. the exchange rate as of today is $1=.79 Euro. Even though this is a 7month low for the euro vs the $. It's still high. I was able to shop for high ticket items three years ago when the exchange rate was the other way around. With the current rate, you are better off shopping back in the states. Nothing compares to USA for shopping. It's great being able to shop online and not suffer the limited selection here abroad. example, there is only two GAP stores that i know of here in Germany. One in Stuttgart and another one way up north. Prices are much more expensive due to exchange rate and selections are limited.
Living here is a great experience but shopping is not just at the top of the list. If the exchange rate were the other way around, then that's a different story.
Oh forgot to mention, if you get a chance to go to Italy (Milan), now that is a place for clothes shopping. You can get high quality silk ties for around 15-20 euros.. I compared them back in the states and they go for around 40 on up.
p.s. there's no such thing as outlet mall here. I miss the woodbury outlet mall in NY.