Can a celeb endorsement fuel a Payless reboot?
After declaring bankruptcy and closing its operations, Payless is returning to the world of brick-and-mortar retail and may be leveraging a celebrity endorsement as it tries to get the business off the ground again.
Former member of the Miami Heat and current basketball executive Alonzo Mourning is considering a partnership with the chain now that it is pursuing its new brick-and-mortar strategy, according to Local 10 News. The chain recently opened its flagship store in North Miami and intends to set up its headquarters nearby. The flagship launch marks a reentry into brick-and-mortar retail that the company has been discussing since last summer, when it announced plans to open 300 to 500 stores within a five year span. In 2019, Payless closed all of its 2,000 locations in North America after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and, in early 2020, it opened an e-commerce website.
A fixture in shopping malls for decades, Payless fell on hard times as malls began to decline. The chain went private in 2011 as part of a leveraged buyout. Towards the end of the 2010s, the chain, which was facing competition from Target, Walmart and other value-oriented retailers providing higher-quality budget shoes, experienced significant management turnover. While a 2018 experiential marketing campaign built around a fake luxury store called “Palessi” drew accolades, the stunt failed to keep the chain afloat.
Payless plans to focus on affordable footwear, according to Local 10 News.
The retailer may find some of its direct competition weakened as it reenters the affordable shoe market.
Competing retailer DSW, hit hard by the pandemic throughout 2020, has been undergoing a reorganization and last year announced layoffs for more than 1,000 staff, according to Footwear News.
Other once prominent mall shoe retailers have pivoted to meet new audiences and face new competition. Foot Locker, for instance, doubled down on its status as a sneakerhead-focused retailer by opening a series of “Power Store” experiential concepts. Power Stores feature gaming areas, sneaker cleaning stations, sneaker customization services and event spaces for sneakerhead lifestyle-related events like DJ performances.
- Payless ‘steps’ back from bankruptcy with new flagship store in North Miami – Local 10
- Can Payless avoid past mistakes with its new comeback effort – RetailWire
- Where did Payless go wrong? – RetailWire
- Payless scores with mock up luxury shop – RetailWire
- DSW Layoffs Hit Customer Service Facility in Home Base of Ohio – Footwear News
- Will Foot Locker’s NYC Power Store play ball with Nike? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What types of moves do you see Payless needing in order to reestablish itself in the marketplace? What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the chain at this moment in time?