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Payless marked up discount shoes to $600 at luxury event ‘Palessi’ | USA Today

Troubled discount footwear chain Payless Shoesource may want to change its name.

The privately-held Topeka, Kansas-based shoe seller executed the reverse of a bait-and-switch operation recently with a luxury influencer event held in Santa Monica, California.

Payless took over a former Armani store, renamed the retail location as “Palessi,” and stocked the outlet with its discount-priced boots, heels, tennis and leisure shoes. Then, it invited a flock of partygoers and sold them the shoes, typically priced at $20-$40 in Payless stores, at inflated designer price tags of $200 to $600.

“Palessi” sold about $3,000 worth of shoes within a few hours and, after the shoppers paid, staffers told them that the shoes were actually from Payless, according to AdWeek, which reported on the event Wednesday. “They are elegant (and) sophisticated,” one shopper described her purchase as, in a Payless video posted on YouTube.

Then, the woman, who Payless says is a real person not an actor, was told the shoes actually were the handiwork of Payless. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said.

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Payless marked up discount shoes to $600 at luxury event ‘Palessi’.