Payless ShoeSource’s New Light

Asimple, cost-effective lighting solution that primarily involves two light sources is a key element of Payless ShoeSource’s new “fashion lab” store prototype. The stylish design creates an environment that combines the Topeka, Kan.-based chain’s signature value with a more fashion-forward shopping experience.

“The lighting addresses multiple challenges. It provides a bold yet replicable design, enables speedy store renovations and provides easy maintenance and operations,” said Archit Jain, principal, Lighting Design Alliance, Signal Hall, Calif., which served as lighting designers for the project.

Payless’ new store prototype was unveiled in New York City, and Overland Park, Kan. Along with a more open and inviting plan and updated fixtures and displays, the design introduces a visual hierarchy of merchandise that is emphasized by the new lighting solution. It represents a significant change from the acrylic-lens troffers in existing Payless stores.

The overall look and appeal of the new lighting scheme betrays its simplicity. Two lamp types form the backbone of the design: T8 fluorescents (GE 32-watt T8 Starcoast Ecolux) and T4.5 ceramic metal-halide lamps (GE 39-watt ConstantColor CMH T4.5). They are both at 3000K and 80+ CRI.

An orderly ceiling design adds to the open, inviting look of the space. Within the recessed perimeter of the store, fluorescent wallwashers (Metalux from Cooper Lighting, Peachtree City, Ga.) light perimeter walls. Ambient lighting is provided by Metalux staggered T8 striplights located behind regressed, frosted acrylic lenses.

Metal-halide reflector-based multi-head adjustable accents highlight merchandise. The T4-lamp accent fixtures (from Cooper’s RSA Lighting) eliminated the need for multiple PAR lamps for achieving multiple beam spreads, helping maintain design intent beyond the first re-lamping, Jain said.

The store’s upscale feel was created by integrating lighting fixtures into the interiors to emphasize visual contrast while providing a glare-free environment. Amber-colored LEDs (GE Lumination), mounted in ceiling coves, complement the color of the walls and create a warm halo around decorative pendant lamps.

As a national retailer with stores across the country, Payless needed lighting that could meet the most restrictive energy codes. The new lighting design does just that, with an overall energy density (including wall lighting) of approximately 1.7 watts per square foot.

“Because it was designed to meet the most stringent codes in California and Washington, it can be used anywhere in the United States,” Jain explained.

Types of Lighting Used


Source: Chain Store Age/Leo J. Shapiro & Associates Note: Totals of more than 100% are due to multiple responses.
All store 2007 Drug store 2007 Supermarket 2007 Department store 2007 Home center 2007 Specialty apparel 2007 Big-box store 2007 Hard lines specialty 2007
Fluorescent 82.3% 100.0% 86.4% 88.9% 83.3% 73.9% 81.3% 66.7%
Track and spot lighting 68.8 50.0 72.7 66.7 66.7 82.6 56.3 66.7
Metal halide 59.4 37.5 59.1 77.8 50.0 82.6 37.5 50.0
Halogen 45.8 25.0 40.9 66.7 33.3 60.9 43.8 33.3
Incandescent 44.8 25.0 40.9 44.4 58.3 65.2 18.8 50.0
LEDs 33.3 37.5 36.4 11.1 41.7 34.8 31.3 33.3
Daylighting system 30.2 25.0 50.0 22.2 41.7 21.7 12.5 33.3
Other 2.1 0.0 9.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0