February 16, 2019
Payless Closing All U.S. Shoe Stores, Liquidation Sales Start February 17

Discount shoe chain Payless ShoeSource is closing down all 2,100 of its stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as its online operations, it was announced on Friday, February 15. The retail company, which was founded in 1956, has been struggling in recent years, and, prior to the closure news, was said to be preparing to file for bankruptcy for the second time in as many years.

Starting on Sunday, February 17, Payless will begin liquidating its inventory with huge sales at stores, and will also begin to wind down its e-commerce platform, according to Fox Business.

"We expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May," the Topeka, Kansas-based company said in an official statement.

Payless stated that its franchise operations and its stores in Latin America will not be affected and will "remain open for business as usual."

The shoe retailer reportedly employs more than 18,000 people globally at its nearly 3,600 stores in more than 40 countries. It is not currently known how many workers will be losing their jobs due to the U.S. and Puerto Rico shop closures.

Payless first filed for bankruptcy in April of 2017 and shut down 673 stores as a result.

The storefront of a Payless ShoeSource in a mall.

USA Today examined a Coresight Research report that revealed 5,524 brick-and-mortar stores were closed down in 2018, including Toys R Us, Mattress Firm, Kmart, and Sears locations.

That number was down from 2017 in which 8,139 stores were shuttered.

However, in the first six weeks of 2019, prior to the Payless announcement, it was reported that 2,187 stores were going to close, which is a 23 percent increase over the same time period last year.

Gymboree is said to be closing 749 stores, Shopko is shutting down 251 locations, and Charlotte Russe will close 94 shops. Other retailers reported to be in trouble include FullBeauty Brands and Things Remembered.

Additionally, Sears and JC Penney have had public struggles recently, but are working on strategies to save their businesses.

Sears plans on making the size of its 425 remaining stores, including Kmarts, smaller, and will devote more floor space to the sale of tools and appliances, according to the Wall Street Journal.

JC Penney is preparing to do the exact opposite by discontinuing its sale of major appliances by the end of February, choosing to focus more on apparel and home furnishings.

Many of these closures are due to the fact that a large majority of Americans are no longer shopping at traditional, brick-and-mortar stores, instead ordering what they need online from the comfort of their own homes from retail giants such as Amazon.