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Payless ShoeSource to Close 2,100 US Locations Amid Bankruptcy Filing

Payless ShoeSource is closing all 2,100 of its locations in the U.S. in the coming months as the company succumbs to bankruptcy.

Payless Shoes filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017, and has already closed nearly 700 stores. According to a report by USA Today, the company is now taking its final gasps, with all of its locations in North America closing up. Liquidation sales begin on Sunday, giving customers a chance to get what is left of the company's inventory.

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

Payless' online retail operations are already closed, though customers can still use the website's store locator app. The company is not accepting new orders as of Saturday morning.

Payless closed 673 back in 2017, and filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has been in non-stop trouble since then, though it has done its best to re-brand and keep up with the changing market.

In September, Payless boasted that it was "the largest specialty footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere" in a news release. The company also noted that it had over 3,500 stores in 40 different countries, and almost 18,000 employees worldwide. Still, just last week, Coresight Research released its predictions about store closings in 2019, saying that there was "no light at the end of the tunnel" for the retail industry.

This closure is reportedly the biggest by a single retail chain this near, and almost double the number of retail stores expected to close in 2019. Before Payless' announcement, 2,187 store closings had been announced in 2019. That was up from last year by 23 percent, and now that number has been almost doubled.

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Some of the biggest closings of the year so far are the 749 Gymboree stores, 251 Shopko stores and 94 Charlotte Russe stores. Last year saw the closure of all Toys “R” Us locations, hundreds of Kmarts, Sears stores and Mattress Firm stores. All of Brookstone's remaining mall stores closed last year as well.

In total, 5,524 retail stores closed in 2018. However, by the end of May 2019 will be well over 4,200, meaning this could be an even worse year for those physical stores remaining in the digital age.