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Pop-up 'luxury' store makes a point

'Palessi' store features 'wildly overpriced' yet relatively inexpensive shoes.

Discount shoe retailer Payless recently opened what appeared to be a luxury shoe store in Santa Monica, USA, called ‘Palessi’… and stocked it with what has been described as ‘wildly overpriced’ yet relatively inexpensive shoes. Around 80 wealthy and fashionable social media ‘influencers’ were invited to the store’s opening party and, surprisingly, some willingly paid hundreds of dollars for footwear that typically cost around $40 in ordinary Payless outlets.

Interestingly, these guests, who are reported to have commented very positively on the quality of the ‘designer’ footwear they were examining, calling it ‘elegant’, ‘sophisticated’ and ‘classy’, spent about $3,000 in the store. Once they had bought their shoes however, the true retail value was revealed to them. One woman who appeared to have no problem spending $500 on a pair of Palessi shoes was naturally shocked when she was told that the price tag elsewhere was closer to $20. A pair of Payless boots even sold for $640. All the buyers were refunded their money and given the footwear without charge for their trouble.

Of course, this was a marketing campaign that paid off, as it quickly went viral. According to Payless chief marketing office Sarah Couch, it played on the enormous discrepancy between shoe prices and aimed to remind consumers that they could still buy affordable fashion.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 4 of the January 2019 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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