Payless (formerly known as Payless ShoeSource Inc.) is an international discount footwear chain. Established in 1956 by cousins Louis and Shaol Pozez, Payless was a privately held company owned by Blum Capital, and Golden Gate Capital. In 1961, it became a public company as the Volume Shoe Corporation which merged with The May Department Stores Company in 1979. In the 1980s, Payless was widely known in the U.S. for its Pro Wings line of discount sneakers, which often had Velcro straps instead of laces. In 1996, Payless became an independent publicly held company.
In 2004, Payless announced it would exit the Parade chain and would close 100 Payless Shoe outlets. On August 17, 2007, the company acquired the Stride Rite Corporation and changed its name to Collective Brands, Inc. The company had a total revenue for 2011 of US$ 3.4 billion.The company also has a stunt premium banner, Palessi Shoes.
The Decline of Payless
Payless is currently owned by a group of investors led by Alden Global Capital and Axar Capital Management. It was announced on May 1, 2012, that the company would be purchased by Wolverine World Wide, Blum Capital, and Golden Gate Capital for US$1.32 billion. On December 13, 2016 it was reported that all Payless shoe stores were to be closed in Australia with the loss of 730 jobs.
On July 14, 2014, Authentic Brands Group acquired some assets from Payless’s division Collective Licensing International, LLC, which included brands such as Airwalk, Hind sports clothing, Vision Street Wear, and Above The Rim. In 2019, North American stores including their e-commerce platform filed for bankruptcy. The filing excluded stores outside of North America, which will continue to operate.
Payless emerged from bankruptcy on January 16, 2020, and on August 18, 2020, Payless officially dropped ‘ShoeSource’ from its name, and launched its E-commerce website.
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