Payless ShoeSource to close 2,100 stores

All stores in U.S. and Puerto Rico to close, liquidation sales underway

Payless is closing four stores in the Milwaukee area and possibly a fifth.
Payless is closing four stores in the Milwaukee area and possibly a fifth.

There are dark days ahead for Topeka, Kansas-based retailer Payless ShoeSource Inc. 

The discount shoe seller plans to close all 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Reuters and Bloomberg first reported on the plans and the company later confirmed those reports with a statement:

“Payless will begin liquidation sales at its U.S. and Puerto Rico stores on February 17, 2019, and is winding down its e-commerce operations. We expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May. This process does not affect the Company’s franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual.”

The company has not announced plans to file for bankruptcy and could not comment on the matter.

Payless currently operates 3,600 stores in 40 countries, with 2,700 stores throughout North America and Puerto Rico, according to its website.

There are over 15 Payless stores throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including locations at Southridge Mall, Brookfield Square, Mayfair and Bayshore Town Center.

The company also sells its shoes at Green Bay-based Shopko, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month itself and is in the process of closing about 250 stores throughout its regional footprint.

After first filing for bankruptcy in April 2017, Payless closed about 400 underperforming stores including four in Wisconsin, at Midtown Center, Grand Avenue Mall, Lincoln Plaza in Rhinelander and Wausau Center Mall.

Payless would join a growing roster of national and regional chain retailers that, like Shopko, are currently struggling to stay afloat or, like Bon-Ton, have already failed. That list also includes Charlotte Russe, which recently filed for bankruptcy, Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.