Payless ShoeSource is seeking court approval to close up to 408 more stores and eliminate American Jobs

Payless could close up to 19 more Illinois stores

Bankrupt discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource is seeking court approval to close up to 408 more stores, including as many as 19 in Illinois.

Topeka, Kan.-based Payless already had announced plans to shut down nearly 400 stores when filing for bankruptcy protection last month.

Since then, the retailer has been trying to negotiate reductions in rent at some additional stores.

“While many of those negotiations have been successful and significant savings have been realized, other negotiations have not been as successful,” Payless said in a bankruptcy court filing.

Only about a quarter of the 408 stores Payless sought the court’s permission to shut down earlier this week will definitely close, according to a company website. That list includes stores in Chicago’s Logan Square, Avondale and Uptown neighborhoods and in Cicero, Broadview, Elgin, Bolingbrook and Decatur, joining 13 Illinois stores in the first batch of closings.

The nearly 300 remaining stores could join them if ongoing negotiations fall through, Payless said. That list includes Payless’s State Street store as well as locations in Chicago’s Bridgeport, Kelvin Park and Montclare neighborhoods and in Naperville, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Hodgkins, Johnsburg and Peoria.

Payless’ latest batch of closures joins the 3,658 announced store closures tallied by Fung Global Retail & Technology so far this year, up 119 percent over the same period last year.

Some of those have come from large-scale closings as traditional retailers like Payless, The Limited and RadioShack sought bankruptcy protection. Others, including J.C. Penney and Macy’s, are shrinking their bricks-and-mortar footprints to adapt to changes in consumer shopping habits, including a shift to online and off-price retailers.

In its bankruptcy court filing, Payless said it plans to invest in areas it thinks will help it stay competitive, including its online business and international expansion in Latin America, while cutting debt and closing unprofitable stores.

Payless said it currently has about 4,000 stores in 30 countries.

lzumbach@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @laurenzumbach


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