Payless ShoeSource could close another 400 stores in bankruptcy

Payless ShoeSource could nearly double the number of store closures under its bankruptcy plan as the extent of the discount footwear chain’s troubles come into sharper focus.

The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, is asking a federal bankruptcy judge for permission to close up to 408 additional stores.

Those closings add to about 400 locations the Topeka, Kan.-based retailer already put on the chopping block when it tumbled into bankruptcy.

Taken together, the 800-some locations would represent about 20% of Payless’ total locations worldwide.

Payless said it needs to accelerate store closures after efforts to secure lower rent at those locations failed. The company said it had further analyzed its footprint and determined that the latest round of stores had poor sales, physical location or other “specific circumstances” preventing them from being successful.

In a court filing, the company left open the possibility that additional negotiations with landlords could “result in consensual modifications and rent concessions” before a June 8 hearing on the matter.