19 Feb, 2019FORTUNE.COM
The end is officially near for Payless ShoeSource.
Payless late on Monday filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In the filing, the company said that it has approximately $470 million in outstanding debt it can’t service. The company has already shut down online sales and plans to close its 2,500 North American stores beginning in March. The company will begin liquidation sales as soon as Sunday and plans to have all of its stores shuttered by the end of May. Payless will only honor gift cards until March 11.
Payless, which was founded in 1956 and grew to become one of the largest shoe retailers in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. At the time, Payless had $435 million in debt and said it needed to close 700 stores.
In a statement to USA Today, Payless chief restructuring officer Stephen Marotta suggested that the last bankruptcy filing did little to actually help the company. Marotta said that the bankruptcy “left the company with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint, and a yet-to-be realized systems and corporate overhead structure consolidation.”
Marotta’s comments echo those made by countless other retailers that have been facing what some industry watchers have called the “retail apocalypse.” Burdened by too much debt and overhead and failing to compete with online giants like Amazon, those brick-and-mortar retailers have suffered over the last few years. Few have been able to optimize their businesses and stabilize.
Although by June, Payless ShoeSource will all but cease operations, the name will live on. There are nearly 800 franchised and Latin American stores that will remain open after the company locations close.
Payless did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment.