Payless files for bankruptcy; closing 400 stores immediately

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 05:00

Payless Shoes has filed for bankruptcy and is closing 400 stores but the stores in Trinidad and Tobago are safe for now..

Payless has about 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. 

The filing, made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Missouri, will "facilitate the financial and operational restructuring necessary to strengthen (the) balance sheet and position the company for long-term success," Payless said in a statement.

The footwear retailer said the company will immediately close as many as 400 "underperforming" stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in an effort to reduce debt by 50 percent.

Additional closures are possible in the future.

The company has not identified which 400 stores will be closing.

"This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify," said Paul Jones, Payless CEO.

As part of the restructuring, Jones said the company will make investments in online expansion and additional product lines.

It joins a growing list of traditional retailers announcing closing, with Sears, HHGregg, Macy's, Kmart, JC Penney, Game Stop and Radio Shack all shuttering locations.