Payless to shut its doors

The footwear retailer is winding down operations across North America, feeling the weight of its debt and retail footprint.

Shoe retailer Payless Shoesource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and plans to pursue creditor protection for its Canadian subsidiaries.

As part of the filings, the company plans to wind down operations in North America, including all 2,500 retail locations and its e-commerce platform. The company lists over 150 Canadian locations on its website.

Liquidation sales in the U.S. have begun and are expected to also take place in Canada in the near future. Sales will continue until at least the end of March, with the company expecting most stores to remain open until the end of May.

Payless previously filed for protection in 2017, which resulted in the closing of 400 U.S. stores. In a statement, Stephen Marotta – who was named chief restructuring officer of Payless in January – said the company emerged from that reorganization “ill-equipped to survive in today’s retail environment, with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint and a yet-to-be realized systems and corporate overhead structure consolidation.”

The company’s stores in Latin America and other international markets are not affected by the filing and will continue to operate as usual.

Payless is the latest legacy retailer to wind down retail operations in Canada in the face of new competition and bricks-and-mortar costs. Last month, Payless competitor Town Shoes closed its final location. Some retailers, though, are expanding their retail networks, and while Canadian retailers like Browns Shoes are among them, much of the growth is coming from international companies, such as L.L. Bean.