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A look at Payless Shoesource's shrinking footprint and declining openings amid closure talks

7 months ago by James Mattone in Facts, Trends

Per a recent report, Payless ShoeSource ($PAYLESS) is set to close all of its stores due to a second bankruptcy in what looms as another sign of the spareding "retail apocalypse".

The store, famous for BOGO (buy one get one) footwear deals, had 2,585 locations across the United States and Canada with 2,310 stores in the United States alone.

Payless mostly congregated in North America's largest cities, especially New York City, where there are 56 individual Payless stores within the five boros, and dozens more in the surrounding suburbia of Westchester, Nassau, and New Jersey's Hudson and Bergen Counties.

City State
Number of Payless Stores
BROOKLYN NY 27
HOUSTON TX 21
MIAMI FL 21
PHILADELPHIA PA 16
CHICAGO IL 15
BRONX NY 13
LAS VEGAS NV 13
SAN ANTONIO TX 12
EDMONTON AB 11
LOS ANGELES CA 11
CALGARY AB 10
ORLANDO FL 10
BALTIMORE MD 10
CINCINNATI OH 9
PHOENIX AZ 9
JACKSONVILLE FL 9

Did Payless fail the "Mattress Firm" metric of proximity test?

Within the context of the retail apocalypse, some of the retailers facing total bankruptcy fall into the issue of too many stores in too little of a place. What once were areas that could sustain multiple stores had fleeting interest over time, which ultimately leads to the failure of the company.

At Thinknum, we call this the "Mattress Firm problem", and measure failing retailers by the percentage of stores that are within a one-mile radius of each other.

Bucking the trend of other retail closures, Payless had only 355 stores that fell under this metric, or 10.08% of its portfolio. And, within that group of stores, most of them are in big cities such as New York and Philadelphia where a one-mile walk or drive is longer than in a rural area.

Still, there were a few areas where Payless may have had over exposure, such as having two stores in the Freehold Mall in New Jersey and the not-heavily populated area on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Jobs gone in a snap

A peculiar trend on Payless' official job listings website emerged in the days leading up to the report of store closures. Overnight, thousands of jobs were taken off the official job listings page, which were once filled with positions for local store associates and other regional positions, as well as corporate positions.

While there is only a report that Payless ShoeSource will close all of its 2,310 stores in the United States and no definite word on the matter (for now), one would think that, with this number of jobs disappearing overnight, Payless' days as a retailer may be coming to an unfortunate end.

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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