Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with plans to close all of its stores in the United States and Canada. The anticipated move marks the second bankruptcy filing from the Kansas-based retailer.
The first time around, Payless landed a deal to cut debts accumulated through a private equity deal, closed its struggling stores and reemerged from bankruptcy in 2017 with hopes of surviving.
This time, the company is entering bankruptcy with the intent to close all of its approximately 2,500 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Payless has also ended its online sales. Some stores will be closed by the end of March, meanwhile “many” will remain open until the end of May, according to the company. It is also expected to honor Payless gift cards and store credit up until March 11.
“The challenges facing retailers today are well documented, and unfortunately Payless emerged from its prior reorganization ill-equipped to survive in today’s retail environment,” Payless chief restructuring officer Stephen Marotta said in a statement. “The prior proceedings left the company with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint and a yet-to-be-realized systems and corporate overhead structure consolidation.”
Payless originally closed roughly 900 stores during its first bankruptcy and had more than 420 company-owned stores and 370 international franchisee stores, will remain open.
Payless found itself with an “oversupply of inventory in the fall of 2018 leading into the winter of 2019” and it was “forced to sell merchandise at steep markdowns, which depressed margins and drained liquidity,” according to a court filing. “Customers filled their closets with these deeply discounted products, which served to reduce customer demand for new product.”
According to the company, it sold “millions of pairs of shoes” for below-market prices, leading to a loss of $66 million in 2018, compared to a loss of $11 million in 2017.