Payless files for bankruptcy in US; SSI says PHL stores not affected



(Source: Business World | 6 April 2017)

Operations of discount shoe retailer Payless will continue in the Philippines after the Kansas-based company filed for bankruptcy and closed its underperforming stores in the United States, its local distributor said on Wednesday.

Tantoco-led SSI Group, Inc. said the Philippine operations of Payless will not be affected by the bankruptcy filing of Payless, Inc. with US Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis.

“It will be business as usual for Payless’ international operations, including the Philippines, as these business segments have been doing well and are profitable,” SSI said.

SSI plans to add five more Payless branches to its network of 75 stores this year.

Privately owned Payless, with 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries, plans to cut debt by almost half and will immediately close about 400 underperforming stores in the US and Puerto Rico. It listed $1 billion to $10 billion in liabilities in its filing.

It is the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to suffer from changing consumer habits, including increasing preference for online shopping and fewer trips to the mall.

Despite the growth of e-commerce in the Philippines, the local retail industry is “at a very different point in its life cycle” compared to the United States where the likes of e-commerce giant Amazon are stealing consumers away from shopping malls.

“Growth of retail in the Philippines continues to be supported by our young population as well as increasing consumer incomes. E-commerce in the Philippines is currently a small percentage of retail sales,” SSI said.

-Krista Montealegre


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