Payless ShoeSource has filed for bankruptcy and is immediately closing three stores in Fresno.
The discount shoe retailer is the latest to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Topeka, Kansas-based retailer said Tuesday that it will be immediately closing nearly 400 stores as part of the reorganization. It has over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries and was founded in 1956.
Payless closures in Fresno include stores at Manchester Center, Fulton Mall and the store at 3235 N. First St., near Shields Avenue.
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No other stores in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Madera counties are on the closure list.
The stores are honoring gift cards, according to Payless’ statement about the bankruptcy.
Payless plans to reduce its debt by almost 50 percent, lower how much it pays in interest and line up funds. The company says some of its lenders have agreed make available up to $385 million to keep the stores running.
“This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” said said Payless CEO Paul Jones in a statement.
Shoppers are increasingly shifting their buying online or going to discount stores like T.J. Maxx to grab deals on designer brands. That shift has hurt traditional retailers, even low-price outlets like Payless.
In fact, Moody’s Investor Service said earlier this year that the number of “distressed” retailers —those with cash problems and lots of debt that are facing strong competition — is at the highest rate since 2009. It named Payless as one of the retailers.
Several retailers have closed stores or gone out of business in 2017. The Limited closed all 250 of its remaining stores early this year. It had operated nearly 400 stores at the end of 2000. Teen retailer Wet Seal in January said it would close its 171 stores.