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Payless to close all U.S. stores

2-19-2019

Brendan Derry, B&T Editor

Payless ShoeSource has announced that they will be shutting down every store in the United States and Puerto Rico. The announcement came this past Saturday and the liquidation sales began in many stores the very next day.

The decision to close 2,100 Payless stores is the beginning of what looks to be Payless’ fall. This has been attributed to a strategy focused solely on brick-and-mortar shopping. This was the core of Payless’ business and the number of people visiting physical stores continues to plummet in a trend that is damaging quite a few businesses. Payless is also shutting down their website which points to a direr financial situation than the last time they ran into trouble. In 2017 the company filed for bankruptcy and closed some 400 stores. This effort seems to have only delayed the inevitable, as the business simply could not compete in a modern market.

The lack of foot-traffic in Payless stores locations like malls led to a drastic reduction in sales. It is expected that most people still prefer to shop in store for an item like shoes due to the need for a proper fit. However, online sellers have made it far more efficient to buy shoes online than in the past where some people felt that were just guessing and hoping. Payless even adopted these strategies for their own website, but this didn’t change much as they were not prepared to compete with such massive competitors like Amazon and simply didn’t get enough web traffic to remain competitive.

Payless’ financial troubles is another instance of a recurring trend for many companies that focused on brick-and-mortar shopping. Recently Sears and Toys R Us have closed their stores while selling off assets and filing for bankruptcy. These drastic efforts are necessary to try and lessen the burden of the massive debts that a struggling company can accrue. Because Payless has already filed for bankruptcy, it is apparent that wasn’t quite enough and this last ditch effort to salvage the company will require a lot of work.

 With the first round of stores set to close in March, customers are already buying up what they can while the company attempts to get rid of leftover inventory. Many customers have stated that they’re shocked at this and have expressed concern for the malls that they used to frequent. As of now, the only stores closing are in the United States and their overseas locations will remain open until further notice.