DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Payless ShoeSource has announced that it will close nearly 400 U.S. stores as it files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Topeka, Kansas-based company said Tuesday the closures are part of a reorganization plan, as the discount shoe chain becomes the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon.

“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 in a statement.

Payless plans to reduce its debt by almost 50 percent, lower how much it pays in interest and line up funds. The company says some of its lenders have agreed make available up to $385 million to keep the stores running.

At the Highland Park store Tuesday evening, shopper Tori Stevenson was a little surprised to hear the news.

“They haven’t really been getting any business like that, though,” she told WWJ’s Stephanie Davis. “My mama used to use them all the time, but I ain’t been to Payless since my son was six months…he’ll be five in July. His first Easter I went to Payless and got him some little shoes for his Easter outfit, and this is my second time.”

A list of stores slated to close was not immediately released; and it’s unclear how many, if any, metro Detroit locations will be affected. Payless currently has more three dozen stores in Michigan.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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