The retailer is seeking a loan to get through bankruptcy proceedings and discussing plans to shutter a significant portion, and potentially all, of its North American stores, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. A representative for Topeka, Kansas-based Payless declined to comment.
Payless was founded in 1956 with the goal of selling affordable shoes in a self-service setting and says it’s the largest specialty footwear chain in the Western Hemisphere.
The company struggled to manage debt taken on in a 2012 leveraged buyout by Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners, filing for bankruptcy protection in April 2017. It emerged with fewer stores, its debt cut in half and creditors owning the company. The chain employs more than 18,000 globally and operates about 3,600 outlets worldwide, according to its website, with more than 2,700 in North America.