Payless files for bankruptcy, closing 2,500 North American stores

Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is shuttering its remaining stores in North America.

The filing on Monday came a day after the shoe chain began holding going-out-of-business sales at its North American stores.

The company, based in Topeka, Kansas, updated the number of stores it is closing to 2,500, up from the 2,100 it cited on Friday when it confirmed it was planning to liquidate its business. It reiterated that stores will remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May.

The liquidation doesn’t affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual, it said.

The debt-burdened chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a first time in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization.

“The challenges facing retailers today are well documented, and unfortunately, Payless emerged from its prior reorganization ill-equipped to survive in today’s retail environment,” said Stephen Marotta, Payless ShoeSource’s chief restructuring officer.

He noted that the prior Chapter 11 proceedings left the company with too much debt and with too many stores.

Stocks bounce back from wobbly start

Stocks shook off an early wobble on Wall Street Tuesday, finishing modestly higher and extending the market’s gains into a fourth week.

Solid earnings from Walmart encouraged investors to bid up other retailers and consumer goods companies. Communication services stocks and banks also contributed to the broad gains.

Homebuilders also notched gains following an industry survey showing improved confidence among builders heading into the key spring homebuying season.

Roughly 81 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported results for the last three months of 2018, delivering earnings growth of 13.1 percent versus a year earlier, according to FactSet. First-quarter snapshots are expected to result in a 2.5 percent decline in earnings, however.

The benchmark S&P 500 index, which has risen for the past three weeks, gained 4.16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,779.76.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.07 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,891.32. The Nasdaq composite added 14.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,486.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 5.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,574.47.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Tuesday has a reading of 62. That’s an increase of four points from last month’s index and the highest reading since October.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders see sales conditions as good rather than poor.

William Lyon Homes was among the biggest gainers, adding 3.1 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.64 percent from 2.66 percent late Friday. That yield is used to set rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans.

U.S. benchmark crude rose 0.9 percent to settle at $55.09 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, slipped 0.1 percent to close at $66.45 a barrel in London.

Compiled from news service reports.