The discount shoe retailer has been around for 62 years, so what is happening to the company? Is something going to happen to the Payless in Hamburg?

payless: closing sign with purple background and yellow/white letteringOn February 15, 2019 Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This is less than two years after its emergence from its previous bankruptcy.

“The challenges facing retailers today are well documented, and unfortunately, Payless emerged from its prior reorganization ill-equipped to survive in today’s retail environment,” said Stephen Marotta, Payless ShoeSource’s chief restructuring officer.

With the filing, there are about 2,500 US and Canadian stores that will have going-out-of-business sales until they close. About 16,000 employees will lose their jobs.

When will the Payless ShoeSource in Hamburg close? There has not been a specific date released, but all US and Canadian stores are set to close by May.

payless store front outside
Photo by Claire Ramsay/ HJ

This retailer is the latest business to file for what has now been called “Chapter 22”, which means a company emerges from Chapter 11 only to file for bankruptcy a second time and shut down its business. Gymboree, American Apparel, and RadioShack suffered that same fate.

“The plans always make sense on paper. But the reality is if there are a fundamental problems with the way a customer perceives a retailer, bankruptcy doesn’t solve that,” said Philip Emma, a senior analyst with DebtWire and an expert on retail bankruptcies. “The is very little margin for error for these companies that try to make it.”

The shoe retailer had too much debt, too many open stores, and too much corporate overhead when it came out on the other side of its prior bankruptcy filing.

This is a map of where all the Payless shoe stores in the US are and the specific locations in Kentucky.

payless: map of the US with certain stores and cities
payless: map of the US with certain stores and cities




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