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Payless shoe stores prepare to close

A pedestrian passes in front of a Payless ShoeSource Inc. store in New York. (2012 file / Bloomberg photo by Scott Eells)

Several national news outlets, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, are reporting that Payless ShoeSource Inc. will file for a second bankruptcy and plans to close all its U.S. stores.

A manager at the Miller Hill Mall Payless shoe store in Duluth referred questions about the fate of the operation to corporate headquarters. But calls and emails to the Topeka, Kans.- based company have gone unanswered.

Signs at the Miller Hill Mall Payless store have been posted, saying: “Everything must go.” and “All sales final.”

Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2017 and closed hundreds of stores as it attempted reorganize and shed debt.

A group of creditors, including Alden Global Capital LLC, assumed ownership of the downsized discount shoe retailer, but with no buyer emerging, the group began efforts to liquidate the chain’s inventory this past weekend.

Payless was founded in 1956, and as of January, it had about about 3,600 bricks-and-mortar stores worldwide, including about 2,300 in the U.S., operating in all 50 states.