Payless ShoeSource last Friday announced plans to shutter its 2,100 remaining stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including the stores at 1215 Auburn Way N and at 1101 Outlet Collection Way.
The Topeka, Kansas-based chain began liquidation sales Sunday and is winding down its e-commerce operations. All of the stores will stay open until at least the end of March. and most will remain open until May.
“We would like to express our deep gratitude for your loyalty and your business over the past 62 years,” the chain wrote on its corporate website. “Despite our best efforts to address the rapidly-changing retail environment, we have made the difficult decision to close our stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and have wound down our e-commerce site. We invite you to visit your local stores that are conducting liquidation sales that will continue until at least March. Again, our sincere gratitude goes out to our customers for their support over the years.”
The debt-burdened chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization. At the time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It remerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and eliminated more than $435 million in debt.
The company lists 18,000 employees worldwide.
Shoppers are increasingly shifting their buying online or heading to discount stores like T.J. Maxx to grab deals on name-brand shoes. That shift has hurt traditional retailers, even low-price outlets like Payless. Heavy debt loads have also handcuffed retailers, leaving them less flexible to invest in their businesses.
But bankruptcies and store closures will continue through 2019, so there’s “no light at the end of the tunnel,” according to a report by Coresight Research.
Cousins Louis and Shaol Lee Pozez founded the chain in 1956 to offer self-service stores selling affordable footwear.