In a move that it said results from its inability to operate as a sustainable business following a recent restructuring, Payless Shoes announced it is closing all of its North American stores, and has “wound down” its e-commerce operations.
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“Despite our best efforts to address the rapidly changing retail environment, we – like many other retailers – have been forced to face very difficult choices,” the company said, in a statement.
The company said the desire to maintain its brand and continue serving a global customer base at the same time, ultimately led it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017.
“Unfortunately, we emerged from the prior 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,” said Payless.
And while it has “worked diligently” with its suppliers to “best position” itself for the future, the company said that after careful deliberation, it decided to voluntarily file for Chapter 11 protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and to commence similar proceedings in Canada.
As part of this process, the company said it has made the decision to close all of its stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
As to what sort of timeline the company is looking at, Payless said its North American stores will remain open while it conducts liquidation sales which are expected to “continue until at least the end of March, with most continuing through the end of May.”
For current customers, the company said it has “sought authorization from both Courts to continue to honour customer gift cards and store credit until March 11, 2019, and to continue to allow returns and exchanges of applicable non-final sale purchases made prior to February 17, 2019, until March 1, 2019.”
However, the company has already discontinued its Rewards program and terminated all outstanding merchandise coupons in North America, “effective immediately.”
Despite the shuttering of its operation in North America, the company stressed that its stores in Latin America, as well as its international locations, will continue to operate business as usual in every respect.
“We expect continued profitable growth in our Latin American and international operations,” the company added.
Payless was founded in Topeka, Kansas in 1956, and has 248 locations across Canada.