Payless will close Emporia and 3 other Kansas stores

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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) — Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource will shut down four of its stores in Kansas - including the one in Emporia - as part of its reorganization efforts.

The announcement comes a day after the discount footwear retailer announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, closing 400 underperforming stores in the process.

The company did not say when the Emporia location, 2326 Industrial Road, will officially shut down. Stores in Great Bend, Hutchinson, and Liberal are slated to close as well.

"This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify," W. Paul Jones, Payless Chief Executive Officer, said at the time of the bankruptcy announcement. "We will build a stronger Payless for our customers, vendors and suppliers, associates, business partners and other stakeholders through this process."

Under the Chapter 11 plan, the company says it will strengthen its balance sheet and restructure Payless' debt load. It will invest specific areas that Payless believes will provide sustainable growth including product and inventory initiatives and international expansion in Latin America.

At their Topeka headquarters, the company laid off 110 employees in January, and recently eliminated more than 20 IT positions.