Payless ShoeSource emerges from bankruptcy

FILE- This Aug. 23, 2006, file photo shows a Payless store front is seen in Philadelphia. Shoe chain Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the latest retailer to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon. The retailer said Tuesday, April 4, 2017, that it will be immediately closing nearly 400 stores as part of the reorganization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Payless ShoeSource announced Thursday that it has successfully emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy after eliminating $435 million in funded debt.

The footwear retailer filed for bankruptcy in April, closing nearly 400 stores in the U.S. in hopes it would position the company for long term success.

Payless said following the completion of the company’s restructuring, Chief Executive Officer Paul Jones will retire.

In the meantime, Payless will be led by a newly appointed Executive Committee comprised of Payless’ Chief Financial Officer, Michael Schwindle, Payless’ Chief Operating Officer, Mike Vitelli, and headed by Martin R. Wade, III, Chairman of Payless’ post-emergence Board of Directors and interim Chief Executive Officer.

“We have accomplished our goals of strengthening our balance sheet and restructuring our debt load, positioning Payless to create substantial value for our stakeholders and achieve long-term success,” said Paul Jones. “In a year where so many major retail companies have filed for Chapter 11 restructurings, Payless is the first to successfully emerge as a stronger and healthier enterprise for the benefit of its customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, and lenders. That is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Payless, and I thank them for the honor of having worked with them over these past five years. Our new owners believe wholeheartedly in the future of Payless, and I am confident that they will identify a new leader who will complement our outstanding and deeply committed management team, while sparking new ideas and approaches.”

Payless said that during the bankruptcy process, Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Payless, Guggenheim Securities, LLC as its investment banker and financial advisor, and Alvarez & Marsal North America, LLC as Chief Restructuring Officer. Working with the management team, these advisors have ensured that the Company entered and exited Chapter 11 in just over four months, an accelerated pace which has given the Company the best chance for success going forward.

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