Financially troubled discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a second time and now is closing 2,100 U.S. and Puerto Rico locations and its online operation.

Payless will start liquidation sales with some stores closing in March and the bulk of them remaining open until May.

A spokesman said the store closings will not include the international franchise and Latin American operations.

Locally, Payless has Kenosha stores in Southport Plaza, 7380 Green Bay Road, and in the Shopko department store, 5300 52nd St.

It has a Racine store in the Shopko Mainstreet store at 4801 Washington Road.

A local Payless associate, under company request, could not discuss the extent of the liquidation sale or confirm the closing date.

However, the Payless website noted that liquidation sales were “now” going on at all the stores.

The initial round of sales are ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent.

Established in Topeka, Kan., in 1956, Payless cornered a discount segment of the shoe market in the U.S. and quickly expanded to overseas markets. The company said it expanded to 40 countries.

The company said its operational and market challenges led to the decision.

“Despite our best efforts to address the rapidly changing retail environment, we — like many other retailers — have been forced to face very difficult choices.

“The desire to maintain our brand and to continue serving our global customer base first led us to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017.

“Unfortunately, we emerged from prior reorganization ill-equipped to service today’s retail environment with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint and a yet-to-be realized system and corporate overhead structure consolidation.”

Hoping to right itself through reorganization two years ago, Payless closed 400 stores.

The company said it had made some changes such as reducing the number of layers of employees between corporate headquarters and the retail store level.

It also increased the number of North American associates who would work closer to the store level.

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