Payless has filed for bankruptcy

Payless ShoeSource said Tuesday that it has filed for bankruptcy.

The discount shoe chain filed for Chapter 11 protection on less than $US1 billion in assets and $US10 billion in liabilities.

Payless has been in talks with its lenders for months over a restructuring plan that includes shuttering as many as 500 stores, according to an earlier report by Bloomberg.

Initial reports said the retailer could close as many as 1,000 stores, or a quarter of the company’s locations.

Payless has more than 4,000 stores in 30 countries and employs nearly 22,000 people.

It was bought in 2012 by private equity firms Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital partners.

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