Italians Take To The Outlet Mall

It seems Gulfport is gaining an international reputation for shopping. Nearly 100 Italian tourists spent the morning at Prime Outlets. The visitors say since outlet malls don't exist in Europe, they came for a different kind of shopping experience.

"I look for something interesting," said Matteo Gabbani.

The Italian feels it's important that his clothes have the right look.

"Sporty style," he said. "Elegant to sporty. A mix."

Matteo's father is among a group of Italian cardiologists taking part in a New Orleans medical conference. On Tuesday, the doctors and their families stopped by Prime Outlets Gulfport where dozens of shops had their hearts racing.

"For the Italians, let's say an Outlet is a new thing," said tour guide Sebastian Wildt. "We don't have Outlets like you have. We heard that this is the best outlet near New Orleans to shop for convenient prices."

The prices are definitely a plus. In fact, they were low enough to turn one Italian into a Bulldog fan. Lucano Frattini bought a Mississippi State football sweatshirt.

"With the Euro, which is very strong against the dollar, it would be of a great interest to buy here," said Frattini. "Quality and price."

Many of these tourists say they finally got the chance to buy name brands they've heard of, but couldn't get their hands on in Italy.

"Like Banana Republic and Gap, which we don't have in Europe. Very good quality for example with Ralph Lauren and companies that are famous in Europe, but we don't have them," said Wildt.

Matteo Gabbani says the best part of the shopping trip will be seeing the jealous looks from his friends back home.

"It's really really wonderful. I love it," he said.

Prime Outlet officials say marketing both in and out of the United States is paying off. Last week a group of Germans came in to shop.