NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Payless ShoeSource is shuttering all of its 2,100 remaining stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, joining a list of iconic names like Toys ‘R’ Us and Bon-Ton that have closed down in the last year.
The affordable footwear chain has dozens of stores around the five boroughs and even more across the Tri-state area that will closing their doors this spring.
The Topeka, Kansas-based chain said Friday it will hold liquidation sales starting Sunday and wind down its e-commerce operations. All of the stores will remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May.
The debt-burdened chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization, including over 30 in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
At the time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It re-emerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and eliminated more than $435 million in debt.
The company said in an email that the liquidation doesn’t affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual. It lists 18,000 employees worldwide.
Shoppers are increasingly shifting their buying habits to online sources like Amazon or heading to discount stores like T.J. Maxx to grab deals on name-brand shoes. That shift has hurt local retailers, and even low-price outlets like Payless. Heavy debt loads have also handcuffed retailers, leaving them less flexible to invest in their businesses.
“More and more consumers are going online because it’s just so much more easier than going to a brick-and-mortar location. It’s just changing the psychology of the consumer,” Reshmi Basu of Debtwire said.
Payless was founded in 1956 by two cousins, Louis and Shaol Lee Pozez, to offer self-service stores selling affordable footwear.
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