loss leader

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loss leader

A business term for an item sold to the public at or below the original cost, to entice a customer to purchase other, more expensive items.

In healthcare, a loss leader is a service provided below cost in order to attract well-insured patients in the hopes of their referring other patients in need of services, thereby generating income above the cost of the loss leader.
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"This is a pounds 2 chicken but it is the retailer that is setting up that lossleader.
Lossleader promotions were dropped about 10 years ago, he adds.