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Worn down: Payless shoes to close all 2K locations, declare bankruptcy

The discount retailer failed to gain traction following a 2017 bankruptcy
February 15, 2019 12:30PM

(Credit: Flickr and iStock)

Just as Sears is emerging from bankruptcy, another major retailer battered by e-commerce is entering into it.

Payless ShoeSource will shutter all 2,300 stores when it files for bankruptcy later this month, according to Reuters.

It’s the second time the Topeka, Kansas-based discount shoe chain has filed for bankruptcy in two years. It was one of many retailers that closed or filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

Payless has been unsuccessful in its search for a buyer and is now preparing to liquidate its assets, including with a going-out-of-business sale at all its locations next week. It joins Toys “R” Us, Mattress Firm, Lowe’s and other large retailers that have shed hundreds of stores or filed for bankruptcy amid slowing sales.

Sears — led by its persistent chairman, Edward Lampert — emerged from bankruptcy this week. Lampert successfully bid $5.2 billion for the company’s assets in January, through ESL Investments. Lampert has plans to reduce the retailer’s footprint and focus more on appliances and tools.

Payless was founded in 1956, and eventually grew to 4,400 stores at its height. It has since closed hundreds of locations, and after its 2017 bankruptcy, closed an additional 700 stores. At the time, it reported $3.9 billion in debts, making it the fourth-largest retail bankruptcy year. It emerged from bankruptcy several months later. [Reuters]Dennis Lynch