The retail industry as we know it is shifting and the casualties of this change seem to be every discount store millennials shopped at during our childhoods — you know, the ones that we dragged our moms to for the latest knockoff sneakers and light-up high tops. RIP Sears, Zellers, and *sigh* Express. The latest victim of the consumer swing to online retailers instead of bricks-and-mortar shops is Payless.
Payless ShoeSource announced today that it will close all of its North American stories by May, 2019. The 2,500 North American Payless stores will start to close next month, with 248 Canadian locations shutting down. According to CTV news, the company filed documents with the Ontario Superior Court that showed it had an oversupply of inventory and too much overhead. Payless couldn’t pay its rent or keep up with a business model that included big stores with stacked inventories of shoes. The company employs 2,400 workers in Canada, who will be affected by the stores’ closing.
This news comes after Payless filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2017 and attempted to restructure. At the time, it blamed the “competitive landscape for mid-luxury, mall-based footwear.” That’s retail PR speak for “malls are dying.” Blame Amazon. Online retailers like Amazon have the most to gain from Payless’s departure and they’re also the reason for its downfall. These days, when people want cheap sh-t, they’re clicking a few buttons instead of dragging their moms to the mall.
The minor silver lining for fans of Payless? Major liquidation sales will be happening at all remaining 248 Canadian stores as they stay open until the spring. Now may be the time to take a trip to your favourite childhood retailer before it suffers the same fate.