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Payless ShoeSource Files For Bankruptcy Protection, Begins Liquidating

Seven Garden State Stores Including One of The Two in East Brunswick Will Close
Payless
Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy on April 4, 2017. Payless

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ–Ailing retailer PaylessShoe Source, on April 4, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and said it plans to “immediately” shutter its East Brunswick outpost in the Mid-State Mall on Route 18 North and Tices Lane.

Overall, the discount shoe chain said it will shutter as many as 400 unprofitable outposts in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, while it “works to aggressively manage [its] remaining real estate lease portfolio either by modifying terms, or evaluating closures of additional locations,” according to a news release.

While the downtown Hub City location on George Street will remain open, six additional Garden State locations are on the chopping block, according to the company:

  • Marlboro Plaza, in Marlboro
  • Lowes Shopping Center, in East Rutherford
  • Marlton Crossing, in Marlton
  • Phillipsburg Mall, in Phillipsburg
  • Bloomfield Ave, in Bloomfield
  • Phillipsburg Mall, in Phillipsburg
  • Acme Plaza in Cape May Courthouse

Payless is directing consumers to shop at local stores not on its list of closures and has made available, online, a chart detailing where to "Shop Here Now" based on geographical factors.

For the Brunswick area, stores at 349 George Street in New Brunswick, and at the Brunswick Square Mall on Route 18 in East Brunswick, are two local outposts not slated to close.  

“We are not able to provide when – each store will close [because it will vary] based on the liquidation process,” said a Payless spokeswoman in an email.

“The store close dates will vary store to store,” she said, adding that she couldn’t comment further on the timeline. 

At the beginning of March, Footwear News (FN) reported that Payless was expected to file for bankruptcy protection this month, citing unnamed shoe industry sources, familiar with the matter.

“If the Topeka, Kansas-based firm does add its name to a bankruptcy court docket [during the week of March 27] a filing and formal restructuring plan could answer questions from vendors and agents who have contacted FN with grievances against Payless during the past few months,” wrote Footwear News.

But according to reports, Payless may close up to 500 stores during reorganization, possibly only half the amount it originally targeted.

The retailer operates more than 4,000 locations in 30 countries.

“[The bankruptcy reorganization] is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” said W. Paul Jones, Payless Chief Executive Officer in a news release.

"We will build a stronger Payless for our customers, vendors and suppliers, associates, business partners and other stakeholders through this process," added Jones, acknowledging the company has made "many tough choices."

"We appreciate the substantial support we have received from our lenders, who share our belief that we have a unique opportunity to enable Payless -- the iconic American footwear retailer with one of the best-recognized global brands -- to remain the go-to shoe store for customers in America and around the globe."