Payless Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Will Close 400 Stores

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

It seems like every mall has at least one Payless ShoeSource, but the chain is about to become a little less ubiquitous: It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today, as expected, and announced plans to close 400 of its 4,000 stores.

The retailer’s executives say now that their plan is to go through the Chapter 11 process, reorganize, and stay in business.

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

While Payless has plenty of cash flow and thousands of stores, the company said in its initial filing [PDF] that it has between $1 billion and $10 billion in debt.

It turns out that a company that operates in dozens of countries and has thousands of stores ends up with a lot of subsidiaries along the way, too. Here’s the full list of entities that are part of Payless and part of a joint bankruptcy case:

While the page isn’t live yet, if you’re a fan of the chain and its shoes, you’ll want to keep an eye on this page on the company’s site to find information about store closings. Update: We have the list of closing stores.

Yes, Payless is the latest mall chain to file for bankruptcy, joining its colleagues Wet Seal, Aeropostale, American Apparel, The Limited, Eastern Outfitters, MC Sports, BCBG Max Azria, Gander Mountain, RadioShackhhgregg, and Gordmans. This year, there have already been more retail bankruptcies than in all of 2016. Most companies now filing for bankruptcy were saddled with debt from past buyouts by private equity firms during previous retail downturns.