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It’s no secret that online shopping is taking brick and mortar stores by storm. In fact, in the race to obtain more customers, online retailers in the lead. This past year hasn’t been too good for a few stores, and now Payless ShoeSource has announced that it will be filing Chapter 11.
Its name goes on the list along with Sears Holdings, Macy’s, and a few other stores that are trying to hold on. Both Sears and Macy’s have announced in the past few months that they will be closing down a large number of stores in order to keep their heads above water. Sears also borrowed a hefty loan in order to keep its doors open.
Yet Payless will be the tenth retailer to file chapter 11 this year. That makes for the highest number of retailers resorting to chapter 11 since 2009. It was just last year that over 18 other retailers announced they would be filing as well.
Payless owns over 4,400 stores in 30 different countries. But as part of Payless’ filings, the long-time shoe company says it will be shutting the doors of over 400 of its stores. This will be done in an attempt to work on balancing its sheet and reducing its debts.
Rumors have been circulating that this chapter 11 filing will be done in a last ditch effort toeasey the burden of the company’s debt and to make up for the low sales that have been dragging in. Moody’s Investors Services downgraded the shoe company to a negative. Moody’s pointed out of the company’s weaknesses being a $520 million loan that Payless will have to pay off around 2021. Payless will also have another loan to pay for the following year for $145 million.
The debt that Payless seems to find itself buried under, comes from when the company’s parent company was bought out by a private owner for $2 billion back in 2012. The result of this purchase left Payless with a sizeable amount of debt, including liabilities of $1 billion and $10 billion. The company, according to a source, only had about $500 million to $1 billion in assets.
On the bright side, things might be looking up for Payless when it comes to lowering its debt load. Payless has plans to restructure its business which includes entering agreements with parties who will help Payless lower its debt numbers by at least 50 percent. Not only will it see lower debt numbers, but this deal will help the company reduce its reduce annual interest costs as well as provide “significant additional capital.”
Payless will also be negotiating an agreement to obtain $385 million of debtor-in-possession financing with some of its current lenders. This debtor-in-possession financing will give the shoe company up to $120 million of incremental liquidity throughout its time in chapter 11. The $385 million in debtor-in-possession financing will include $305 million asset financing and $80 million toward a new term loan.
Payless chief executive officer, W. Paul Jones made a statement saying that the company is “confident that this process will also enable us to leverage Payless’s existing strengths to succeed.”
The strengths mentioned, Jones went on to say, were the company’s “ability to produce significant free cash flow and, even last year, flat [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] despite unprecedented challenges and in contrast to many retailers.”