Payless closes doors

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Posted on Jul 18 2019

The former Payless ShoeSource Saipan branch in San Jose. The company ceased operations last July 9. (Marc A. Venus)

Payless ShoeSource has made its final goodbye to Saipan, with the company ceasing operations at its Saipan branch last July 9. Its store in Guam has also closed, in the wake of more than 2,000 shops in the U.S. mainland and Canada that will also be closing within the year.

The Saipan store began a closing-out sale that started off with 30% discounts last May 31. The company then increased the discounts up to 70% while supplies lasted. For its final three days, Payless offered shoes for $3 and accessories for $1, leading to its final day sales of everything in the store at $1.

In a Facebook post, Saipan store manager Flor Deleon Guerrero said they are experiencing mixed emotions and sadness with the closure of both Saipan and Guam branches.

Deleon Guerrero thanked their loyal customers that supported them through the years since Payless began operations on Saipan in 2004.

The company had declared bankruptcy in February 2019 but Payless communications director Lauren Jeffords had told Saipan Tribune in a previous email that Saipan, along with its Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands branches, will not be affected by the Chapter 11 filing.

One of the company’s Saipan customers, Kiana Atalig, was shocked that all Payless stores were shutting down. Payless ShoeSource was her usual shoe store, as she bought shoes that were used for work, school, and other events. “I really liked Payless and felt it was more convenient and affordable for me,” she said.

With the closure of Payless, Atalig says she has to resort on buying shoes online.

Jose Rabago Jr. was also sad, as Payless was his family’s primary source of shoes. “Payless was reliable. …We could always find our type of shoes if needed for a graduation, funeral, or any type of social event… it was also affordable, with their promos and discounts,” Rabago added.

Growing up, his parents were also Payless shoppers because of their promos and discounts.

Rabago hopes that there would be a new local shoe store that can pick up the load that Payless had before its closure, or other local companies that can take advantage of this loss and start selling shoes.

Saipan Tribune learned from a former employee that the company had been planning to cease operations “around mid-July.”

Payless filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code early this year at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, with some subsidiaries under Payless Canada also seeking protection “pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in the Ontario Court of Justice.”

Payless was known as a specialty discount shoe store that regularly offers “Buy One, Get One” promos and other special offers that was popular on Saipan.

Marc Venus Venus
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