Oh No: Is Payless Going The Way Of Wet Seal & The Limited?

Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Payless ShoeSource confirmed what fans had been fearing (but we've unfortunately come to expect from ailing retailers lately). The company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and announced it will close 400 stores in U.S. and Puerto Rico as part of its restructuring, Footwear News reports.
"This is a difficult but necessary decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” W. Paul Jones, Payless' CEO, said in a statement. “We will build a stronger Payless for our customers, vendors and suppliers, associates, business partners and other stakeholders through this process."
The specific locations that will be affected by this restructuring haven't been announced yet, but the company is expected to release the list on its corporate website sometime soon. Meanwhile, Jones reassured concerned customers that it'll be business as usual at the remaining 4,000 stores worldwide.
This story was originally published on February 12, 2017.
It looks like another one of your teen shopping hotspots may be going the way of the dodo. After news that mall stalwarts The Limited and Wet Seal would be shuttering stores across the United States, Payless might soon be following in their footsteps. Business Insider reports that as part of a debt restructuring deal, Payless plans on closing 1,000 stores.
Blame Zappos, blame the fact that malls are in trouble, or blame the company for growing too fast. With over 4,400 stores in 30 countries, it might just be too much for the brand to handle. Maybe the stores were too dependent on their famous BOGO sales or the collaborations with fashion-forward designers such as Christian Siriano, Isabel Toledo, Alice + Olivia, and Lela Rose didn't resonate with shoppers (the only one that remains is Siriano's capsule collection). The brand also dropped customer favorite services like custom-dyed bridesmaid shoes in the aughts and hoped that bringing in brands such as Airwalk and Champion would boost its caché in the athleisure and athletic shoe markets.
Late last year, Payless told Footwear News that it planned on closing between 350 and 500 stores. Rumors of financial trouble continued in January, when it laid off 165 employees at its corporate offices in Topeka, Kansas. At the time, Reuters reported that the company was $655 million in debt.
But closing stores may not be enough. Bloomberg adds that if the restructuring isn't approved, the chain could file for bankruptcy. More news is expected sometime this month.

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