Payless Will Close All 2,100 of Its U.S. Stores — and the Liquidation Sales Have Already Begun

The beloved budget-friendly shoe retailer will be closing all of its stores in the United States and Puerto Rico

Payless shoes
Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty

It’s the end of an era.

Payless, the beloved budget-friendly shoe retailer, will be shutting down all 2,100 of its stores in the United States and Puerto Rico over the next couple of months.

“Payless will begin liquidation sales at its U.S. and Puerto Rico stores on February 17, 2019, and is winding down its e-commerce operations,” a Payless spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business, adding that “this process does not affect the Company’s franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual.”

According to the spokesperson, all stores are expected to stay open until “at least the end of March,” although the majority of locations won’t close their doors until May.

The entrance to Payless ShoeSource at the Coastland Center Shopping Mall.
Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty

Payless, which was founded in 1956, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last April, according to CNN Business. The outlet went on to report that at the time, the company closed around 400 of its stores.

Citing multiple sources, Reuters has also reported that Payless could file for bankruptcy a second time by the end of February.

Payless is the latest in a long line of retailers that have declared bankruptcy in recent years, including Charlotte Russe and Claire’s.

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As part of one of Payless’ last campaigns, the retailer actually duped 80 social media fashion influencers into spending upwards of $640 on a pair of the store’s affordable footwear.

For the funny campaign, Payless created a fake luxury store named “Palessi” (along with a corresponding luxury website and Instagram account) and filled it with shoes normally retailing from $19.99 to $39.99, but convinced the style gurus to buy them for much more.

When one woman tried on a pair of black and gold metallic sneakers from the store and asked what she would pay for them, she said: “I would pay $400, $500. People are going to be like, ‘Gasp!’ Where did you get those?’ These are amazing.”

Her reaction when she found out the real cost? Priceless.

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“These are actually from Payless,” the store employee said.

“Shut up!” she replied with a shocked expression. “Are you serious?”

Another woman’s reaction when she found out the truth: “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

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