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Payless emerging from bankruptcy, but not returning to US anytime soon

Payless ShoeSource said Thursday that it emerged from bankruptcy for a second time with its international stores intact and a goal of returning to the United States.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last February, less than two years after its previous bankruptcy. In the second action, Payless closed all 2,100 of its US stores and 16,000 employees lost their jobs.

This time, Payless emerges from Chapter 11 with more than 700 stores in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Some of its stores are owned by franchisees.

The company has a new management team in place, led by Jared Margolis, former president of licensing agency CAA-GBG. Payless has said it wants to return to the United States but did not give a timetable for doing so.

The company plans to use its existing infrastructure, “providing the new Payless with the ability to be nimble, innovative, and to fast-track our biggest growth opportunity: The United States,” Margolis said.

In a news release, Payless also said it will “collaborate with high-profile individuals and brands to ensure exclusive product offerings at a compelling price-point.”

When Payless filed for bankruptcy last year, it said it had too much debt, too many stores, and too much corporate overhead leftover from when it emerged from its first bankruptcy in 2017.

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