loss leader

noun
a popular article that is sold at a very low price or at a loss for the purpose of attracting customers to a retail store. Compare leader ( def 4 ).

Origin:
1920–25

loss-leading, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
loss leader
 
n
an article offered below cost in the hope that customers attracted by it will buy other goods

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
In fact the reactor is the loss leader for companies that make fuel rods.
See how support for corn based ethanol has dropped once people finally did the
  math and figured out it was a loss leader.
It can be a loss leader, but let's focus on the low hanging fruit.
But grocers will only advertise if the product is a loss leader, a low-cost
  item that brings in customers.
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