Payless Says Shoe Business is Slow Business

NEW YORK–Payless ShoeSource, the nation?s largest shoe chain, Wednesday announced that it will close division offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Dallas, and that company president Ken Hicks plans to leave in February. The moves come as the Topeka, Kansas-based retailer, which operates Payless and Parade shoe stores, said fiscal third-quarter profits fell 59%, beset by “diminishing sales and dwindling consumer confidence.”

Duane Cantrell, a 23-year Payless veteran, has been named to replace Hicks. The closings and related job cuts are expected to save Payless $10 million, according to the company.

“Hopefully it will lead to speedier decisions and also reduced expenses,” said representativeTimothy Reid.

The company said that any decisions regarding changes in marketing or ad spending for 2002 had yet to be revealed. Payless ShoeSource spent nearly $66 million in 2000 and has spent $40 million on media through the first eight months of 2001, per CMR.

Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, Mo., is the company?s agency of record.