In the US, any citizen can buy a franchise. This is when a large company sells its name and products and a private citizen can buy the rights to open a store using the name. In the US, there are many franchise opportunties. McDonald's will sell you a franchise IF you have the money. You can open a McDonald's but you must use all corporate products and pay them a franchise fee.
An outlet is simply a name brand store that sells its old stock. I just went to a Coldwater Creek clothing store outlet and bought many items on sale. They are usually out of season items or seconds, or returned stock. NIKE also has outlets around the US. We have shopping centers that are called outlet malls. All the stores are outlets of big name brand stores.