Payless ShoeSource Is Closing All Of Its U.S. Stores Permanently

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Getty/Jeff Greenburg

Payless ShoeSource is the latest major retailer to close all its stores

It’s truly the end of a shoe era. Payless ShoeSource announced it will be closing all 2,100 of its U.S. stores permanently, with liquidation sales beginning this Sunday. If you listen closely, you can hear the nostalgic sighs of ’80s and ’90s kids everywhere, reminiscing about our back-to-school shoe shopping days.

All e-commerce operations will end as well, so no more online bargain shopping for shoes either. According to USA Today, this marks the biggest closing by a single chain this year — and it nearly doubles the number of retail stores set to close in 2019 altogether.

“We expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May,” Payless ShoeSource says in a statement. “This process does not affect the company’s franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual.”

This is the latest major chain store closing in a string of bankruptcies and closings throughout the last year. Earlier this month, the popular teen and young adult clothing store Charlotte Russe declared bankruptcy and announced plans to close 100 of its stores.

This January, children’s clothing store Gymboree announced it would be closing all of its stores this year. Last year, beloved toy store Toys ‘R Us closed for good. And Claire’s Accessories filed for bankruptcy in 2018 as well.

If you’re wondering what the heck shopping malls even exist for if pretty much all of their most popular stores are closing, you’re not alone. Online shopping is simply more convenient — especially for parents of young children.

I know when I get free time, or factor in enough time in my day for something fun, traipsing about the mall doesn’t top my list. While there are some things you absolutely need to be in-store to buy (like bras and literally everything at Target), it’s just far more preferable to shop from our couches while wearing our pajamas.

This drastic, rapid shift in consumer behavior and preferences has led to mall closings nationwide. Credit Suisse estimates one in four of America’s remaining 1,100 malls will close in the next five years. Dead malls are already standing abandoned or being demolished in countless towns across the country.

Payless ShoeSource hits close to home, though, doesn’t it? It kind of feels like Toys ‘R Us in a way, because so many of us grew up going to this store. My parents always bought us kids one nice, sturdy, decent pair of tennis shoes and the rest of our footwear — dress shoes for school concerts, “dressy” boots to wear over leggings, white keds to wear with my pee-wee cheerleading uniform — all came from Payless.

And if you haven’t worn at least one pair of their infamous dye-ables in at least one wedding as a bridesmaid, are you even really an ’80s or ’90s kid? I’ve pinched many a toe and stained my feet many times in those babies. And if I was ever in a bind for some last-minute footwear that needed to fit my budget — to Payless I went.

Earlier this week, Coresight Research released an outlook of 2019 store closures that basically says when it comes to Payless ShoeSource, there is “no light at the end of the tunnel.”