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/ Source: TODAY
By Ronnie Koenig

It's bad news for discount shoe fans — Payless ShoeSource, the ubiquitous chain where you could pick up shoes for the whole family for insanely low prices, announced it is starting its liquidation process and closing all 2,100 of its U.S. stores.

With other well-known retailers such as Gymboree and Charlotte Russe closing up shop, it's becoming less surprising to see stores that were once mall staples disappearing. Multitasking moms and dads have started buying more and more goods online and stores that were once busy have found themselves scrambling to compete with internet sales and big-box stores such as Target and Walmart.

"I used to shop for my kids at Payless years ago," Ellen Huggins, a mom of three from Lindenhurst, New York told TODAY. "The way little ones run through shoes made Payless our go-to for inexpensive items. They even had extra wide for [my son's] enormous feet. As the kids got bigger, the prices went up accordingly. It was no longer affordable [and] shopping at Zappos or department stores was comparable in pricing."

"Payless is trying to compete above Target but below DSW and to sell at that price point — and also keep quality high enough so people will want to buy it — is hard. It became too hard of a puzzle to solve," Jay Sole, UBS footwear analyst, told TODAY. "People are going other places. Today's consumer cares about convenience. It's easier to go online or to a one-stop shop like Walmart where you can get the other things you need," says Sole. "For shopping online, places like DSW have a better online presence."

According to the Associated Press, Payless says the closures will not affect its Latin American stores, which will stay open for business as usual.

Payless ShoeSource was founded in 1956 by two cousins, Louis and Shaol Lee Pozez, as an alternative to higher-end shoe stores. The store's concept focused on letting customers serve themselves from the shelves. But with the changing times, it seems that no brand is safe from the possibility of liquidation. Last year, the public was stunned to say goodbye to Toys "R" Us, the iconic toy store that had served Americans for 70 years before closing its doors for good in June 2018.

It's probably a good idea to use any merchandise credits you have ASAP, stock up on new kicks for the fam and grab those great deals while they last.