US shoe company saves Aussie chain from administration

THE jobs of 850 Payless Shoe employees are safe after American shoe company Payless ShoeSource saved the Australian chain from administration.

Payless Shoes, which was Australia's largest independent shoe retailer before going into voluntary administration in September last year, was not previously affiliated with Payless ShoeSource.

But the Australian business had been modelled after Payless ShoeSource stores in the US.

Since September 80 Payless stores across the country have been closed as part of a restructure, leaving a network of 150 - the bulk of which are in regional towns in Queensland and New South Wales.

The remaining stores and 850 Payless employees have been retained by Payless ShoeSource, with workers being offered the same terms and conditions across the head office and store operations.

Details of the sale, which was finalised on Friday by Deloitte Restructuring Services Partners Vaughan Strawbridge and David Lombe, were not disclosed.

Payless ShoeSource operates 4400 shoe stores in more than 30 countries throughout the world, including the US, Canada and Latin America.

Mr Strawbridge said the Payless restructure had succeeded in reversing the company's fortunes.

"In the space of six months, Payless Shoes has been turned from an operation facing financial distress into a profitable business that has attracted a global buyer," he said.

"Achieving this sale is a significant outcome, and one which has been made possible by the hard work of many people and the understanding and support of employees, suppliers and landlords."


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