Payless ShoeSource prepares for bankruptcy that could come within weeks, plans store closures

If the shoe store company cannot find buyers, it may need to close all 2,700 stores, cautioned one insider.
A customer looks to buy new shoes for a new sales associate job, at the Payless ShoeSource in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2010.
A customer looks to buy new shoes for a new sales associate job, at the Payless ShoeSource in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2010.Damian Dovarganes / AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: CNBC.com
By Lauren Hirsch, CNBC

Payless ShoeSource is preparing for its second bankruptcy, which could come as soon as within two weeks, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.

As part of the bankruptcy process, Payless is is looking for buyers for its real estate, which could include selling large blocks of stores in certain areas of the country. If it cannot find buyers, it may need to shutter the majority, if not all, of its North American store-base, the person said.

The person cautioned that plans remain in flux and it is still possible that Payless could avoid a bankruptcy filing, potentially by finding a buyer for the entire company.

Payless filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2017 and closed nearly 400 stores. The retailer currently has more than 2,700 North American stores, according to its website.

The person requested anonymity because the information is confidential. A spokesperson for Payless did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg first reported Payless' bankruptcy plan.

If a filing were to occur, Payless would be the latest in a string of retailers to emerge from bankruptcy protection, only to boomerang back. Children's apparel brand Gymboree recently filed for its second bankruptcy in less than two years.