Can’t pay up: Payless Shoes may shut down 1,000 stores

The company, one of the biggest retailers in BK, is struggling with $600M debt load

Inside an NYC Payless store (Credit: Getty Images)
Inside an NYC Payless store (Credit: Getty Images)

Discount shoe purveyor Payless Shoes is considering shuttering some 1,000 stores to deal with its $600 million debt load.

The retailer is debating whether or not to restructure in or out of court, Bloomberg reported. The company might file for bankruptcy if it can’t reach a deal with its creditors.

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As of last year, Payless had 95 stores in New York City, and was one of the top 10 retailers in both Brooklyn and the Bronx, with 35 and 18 stores in the respective boroughs, according to a report by the Center for an Urban Future. Payless has more than 4,400 stores across 30 countries and employs 25,000 people.

Private equity firms Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners bought Payless in 2012, as part of a deal that split up Collective Brands, the shoe store’s publicly traded parent company. Other retailers, including Claire’s, True Religion, J. Crew and Gymboree are also struggling to compete with online stores, according to Bloomberg. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel