By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — After announcing an upcoming comeback at the beginning of this year, mass retailer Payless is officially relaunching this month.
On Tuesday, the footwear retailer, which has formally dropped “ShoeSource” from its name, will unveil an e-commerce platform. There are also plans to open physical stores in 2021.
In addition to shoes, Payless will sell apparel and accessories online and at 300 to 400 freestanding stores slated to open in the next three to five years.
“Payless is back, relaunching into the US market and bringing our customers the affordable, value driven products they’ve always searched for, at a time when value couldn’t be more important,” said Payless CEO Jared Margolis in a statement. “Relaunching just in time for back-to-school, we at Payless know this school season will look different for many parents, students and teachers, and we’re here to help our community get back on their feet.”
In 2019, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and shuttered over 2,000 stores in North America. But, now there are plans to reopen stores this year with the first prototype store launching in Miami. The new store locations will be in addition to Payless’ existing 700 international stores that still exist throughout Latin and Central America.
The new stores will include a renewed customer experience featuring engaging in-store touch points, smart mirrors, touch screen wall panels, and a first-of-its-kind Augmented Reality foot comparison chart. An elevated assortment of designer offerings from private label brands such as AirWalk, American Eagle, Kendall + Kylie and Aerosoles will also be available.
“The world needs to pay-less right now, and we have a responsibility to our 70 million Payless customers, so we’ve reinvented ourselves, harnessing the best from the ‘brick and click’ model so everyone, everywhere can shop our stylish and affordable offerings whether online or in-stores,” said Margolis.
The 64-year-old company is also looking forward to rolling out a variety of diverse community partnerships throughout the year.
Through Payless’ “You Lead the Way” initiative, the brand is looking ahead at the fall 2020 season and the growing number of students and families nationwide that will be unable to access internet or the technology needed for virtual learning — as well as the meal services provided through in-school lunch programs.
To help support this need, the brand is partnering with schools across the country to provide students, teachers and their families with the online connectivity technology, complimentary lunches and shoes for the upcoming school year.
“As part of this commitment to our community, we are also providing hotspots, meal programs, and of course, great shoes to students, teachers and families in need,” said Margolis. “We are so excited to bring Payless back to you, as we all get back on our feet.”
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