TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Significant layoffs were announced on Thursday at Payless ShoeSource, headquartered in Topeka.
When asked, a spokeswoman for Payless told KSNT News the total workforce reduction impacted about 165 associates. These actions impacted approximately 110 associates in the Topeka corporate office.
Meghan Spreer, a cooperate spokesperson for Payless says the company regularly evaluates the company and the organizational structure to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the organization.
“Right now we’ve had a difficult day and we are doing the best to ensure the right decisions for our business and customers for our community and also for our associates.”
According to Spreer, because the company made the decision to hold positions open last year, they were able to lessen the impact to associates. These eliminated jobs represent about 2 percent of their total associate base.
Spreer says they believe these are the right decisions for the company during a time that’s really evolving dramatically in the retail landscape.
In a statement from Matt Pivarnik, president and CEO of GO Topeka, he said, “Payless is a good corporate citizen that has been a part of the Topeka community for many decades. We believe Payless is committed not only to Topeka, but also to managing through the ebbs and flows of their industry in order to remain a competitive player in retail. Unfortunately, this sometimes requires making the tough decision to adjust a company’s workforce. GO Topeka was aware of the potential workforce adjustment and stands ready to assist those impacted through our workforce initiatives and partnerships. Topeka’s economy remains strong and we are encouraged by the fact that many Topeka businesses are currently looking for qualified candidates.”
Payless is a privately owned company, split by Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners. In 2012 the company was sold for 2 billion dollars.
These cuts were not the first time they have done that. They had some cuts in 2009 when they closed their distribution center on Highway 24 in Topeka, as a result 550 people lost their jobs. 4 years later Payless laid off 45 people from their corporate office and 142 people overall.
That same year they purchased more than 130 Payless shoe stores in Australia. However, according to the Australian Payless website — they are closing all stores in that country.
The footwear retailer has more than 25,000 employees worldwide. The company was founded in Topeka in 1956.
Below is the first interview KSNT News had with Spreer.