Payless ShoeSource files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday.

The footwear retailer says they will continue to operate its business for customers, vendors, partners and employees.

They hope that filing for bankruptcy will position the company for long term success by strengthening its balance sheet and restructuring its debt load.

Payless says they plan to immediately close nearly 400 under performing locations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Cooperate Spokesperson for Payless Meghan Spreer says the company is examining what steps must be taken to ensure the long term success of the business.

“We will continue to assess how the changes we are making will impact the overall size of our business.”

Spreer says they do not have current plans for additional layoffs in their Topeka headquarters office related to the bankruptcy.

“We will continue to manage our costs and monitor business performance to ensure we are positioned for success.”

Spreer tells KSNT News that the decisions they have made and continue to make are difficult but necessary.

“We regret the impact these closings will have on impacted associates and we are committed to treating them fairly.”

Payless Chief Executive Officer W. Paul Jones released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify. We will build a stronger Payless for our customers, vendors and suppliers, associates, business partners and other stakeholders through this process. While we have had to make many tough choices, we appreciate the substantial support we have received from our lenders, who share our belief that we have a unique opportunity to enable Payless — the iconic American footwear retailer with one of the best-recognized global brands — to remain the go-to shoe store for customers in America and around the globe.”

Payless Shoesource is an international company founded in Topeka in 1956.  It continues to be headquartered in Topeka and employees more than 22,000 people worldwide.

The 61-year-old company has more than 4,400 stores in over 30 countries according to the corporate website.

KSNT News will continue to update this story as additional information becomes available.

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