Payless ShoeSource could double the number of stores it would close under its bankruptcy plan, including its location at Bellis Fair in Bellingham.
The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, is now asking a federal bankruptcy judge for permission to close up to 408 additional stores. That’s on top of the 400 locations the Topeka, Kansas-based retailer already put on the chopping block.
Among the 408 stores listed as “under negotiation” is the Bellis Fair location – one of the 14 stores in Washington that may close. That also includes its store at Cascade Mall in Burlington.
But in its May 24 court filing, Payless said it needs to close more stores after it could not negotiate lower rents or other concessions at those locations. The company said the latest round of stores showed poor sales or had “specific circumstances” that prevented them from being successful.
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But the company left open the possibility that it could negotiate lower rents before a June 8 hearing that would authorize the additional closings.
The proposed closures are just the latest in a string of retail companies that are struggling to adjust to changing consumer shopping habits. Macy’s, JC Penney and Kmart are among the national retailers that have announced closures but chose to keep their Bellingham stores open, for now.