Payless Shoes is the latest retailer to run into financial problems and will close 400 stores across the country, including seven in New Jersey.

Payless filed for Chapter 11 protection in in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to "to strengthen its balance sheet and position the company for long-term success" according to a statement that called the decision to close retail locations "necessary but difficult."

"We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to implement a comprehensive path forward to meaningfully enhance our growth profile and profitability, positioning us to continue to thrive as a sustainable business in the face of the retail industry’s radical, unprecedented transformation," Payless said.

The following stores will close in New Jersey:

  • Bloomfield
  • Cape May Court House
  • East Brunswick
  • East Rutherford
  • Englishtown
  • Marlton
  • Phillipsburg

Payless said it has hired a company to handle the closing stores' liquidation sales, which will begin immediately.

The chain said that they will try to relocate employees to nearby locations or offer a severance package if that is not possible.

Employee pay and benefits, including health care, will continue to be paid by the company. Gift cards will also be honored both at their stores and on their website.

Payless joins a growing list of retailers shutting locations or going out of business. JC Penney announced plans to close its Rio Grande store while Macy’s said it will close another 34 stores this year in addition to 66 stores it previously said would close, including locations in Moorestown, Voorhees and the Preakness Shopping Center in Wayne. It has not identified the new locations that will close.

Toys R Us, meanwhile, laid off 250 employees at its Wayne headquarters.

The parens company of Outback, Carrabba’s and Bonefish closed 43 restaurants across the country including five locations in New Jersey.

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