Payless’ retail comeback gains steam with store opening

Marianne Wilson
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Payless is back in the brick-and-mortar business in North America.

The discount footwear retailer will open the doors on March 1 to its first store since it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019, and subsequently closed its 2,500 locations and e-commerce operations in North America. The 4,000-sq.-ft. store is located in North Miami (Florida), home to the company’s new headquarters. The opening follows the brand’s online relaunch this past summer and is the first of hundreds of stores expected to open during the next five years.

Described as a concept store, the new Payless is designed to provide consumers with an omnichannel retail experience. The interior has a contemporary look, with touchscreen wall panels, bright color palettes, modern neon lighting and signage. The exterior features a colorful mural by local artist Amaranta Martinez (better known as Superama) that highlights Miami's vibrant community and its combination of cultures.

High-tech touchpoints are integrated throughout the space, including a “first-of-its-kind” augmented reality foot measurement chart and floor decal provided by Zappar. Made up of 16 individual 3D animated characters and 16 2D animal footprints and a photo feature with save function, it is designed to provide a personalized customer experience. (The AR capabilities, are available in both English and Spanish.)

"The traditional brick-and-mortar storefront isn't going anywhere, but recent times have demanded the need for a new 360-degree immersive retail experience," said Jared Margolis, CEO of Payless. "Our plan has always been to make a comeback for our U.S. consumers with brand new smart and strategic retail locations that are also in line with our omnichannel strategy.” 

Although Payless closed all its stores in North America following its bankruptcy filing, the company has maintained a strong retail presence throughout Latin/Central America, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Middle East and India, operating some 700 stores in total.