A worker finishes a sign at a Payless ShoeSource in Independence, Mo., in 2006. The shoe chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Apriil 4, 2017, and said it will close 400 stores. (Charlie Riedel / AP)
Discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource plans to close 13 Illinois stores — part of the nearly 400 locations it’s shutting down nationwide — after filing for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.
Payless stores in Chicago’s Ford City, Montclare and Brighton Park neighborhoods and one at the western edge of the Jeffery Manor neighborhood were on the list of stores closing immediately, along with locations in Orland Park, Lake Zurich, Waukegan, Moline, Merrionette Park, Sterling, Danville, Forsyth and Rockford.
"This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify," Payless CEO Paul Jones said in a Tuesday news release.
The Topeka, Kan.-based retailer listed liabilities of $1 billion to $10 billion in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, along with assets of $500 million to $1 billion. The Chicago office of marketing agency Marc USA is among its 50 largest creditors and is owed roughly $2 million, according to the bankruptcy filing.
Payless said it plans to cut debt, consider additional store closures and invest in areas it thinks will help it stay competitive, including its online business and international expansion in Latin America. It currently has about 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries.
Retailers have been trying to adapt to changes in consumers’ shopping habits, including a shift to online and off-price retailers. Payless is the latest in a string of traditional retailers — including electronics sellers RadioShack and Hhgregg and apparel retailers BCBG and The Limited — to seek bankruptcy protection and announce large-scale store closings since the start of the year.