According to Reuters, discount retailer Payless is set to close all 2,300 of its stores nationwide. Sources who have asked to remain anonymous told the outlet that the closures will happen after the company files for bankruptcy for the second time later this month.
The company first filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and closed 400 stores at that time. While the sources who spoke to Reuters indicate that there may still be time for the company to find a buyer, they also cautioned that it’s an unlikely outcome. For now, stores will reportedly have going-out-of-business sales starting next week, with eventual plans to completely liquidate.
In late 2017, the company characterized the steps it had taken to reemerge post-bankruptcy as successful.
“We are one of the few retailers that has successfully emerged from bankruptcy in what continues to be a challenging year for the industry,” Martin R. Wade, III, interim chief executive officer and chairman of Payless, said in a November 2017 statement. “The in-court restructuring moved at an accelerated pace as a result of Payless’ agreements with creditors. The Chapter 11 process enabled the company to significantly reduce debt and create a solid foundation for growth. We must challenge ourselves every day to ensure we take advantage of this fresh start.”
On Feb. 8, CNBC reported that a potential second bankruptcy filing was a possibility. At that time, an anonymous source cautioned that the plan was still in flux. A spokesperson for Payless did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the outlet.
If the chain does once again file and shutter more, if not all, stores, it would be the latest in a string of brick-and-mortar retailers that have struggled as part of the so-called “retail apocalypse.” Bon-Ton, Gymboree and Nine West, another shoe giant, have all declared bankruptcy in the past year.
However, there have been signs that some of these brands may weather the storm. After closing doors to all of its locations nationwide last year, Toys ‘R’ Us has announced a relaunch as the newly-formed Tru Kids Inc. Similarly, another iconic toy store, FAO Schwartz, reopened late last year after closing suddenly three years prior.
As for the ultimate fate of Payless, it remains uncertain.