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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Business Thursday

Several published reports over the past couple of days say Payless is making a comback, 14 months after it went out of business.  There are plans to open as many as 500 new stores.

Payless had a lot wrong with it, including a lot of debt and bad management.  On the other hand, it did seem to have a decent share of the budget shoe market.  There is plenty of competition-- especially from the big box stores.

It's a case of viewing opportunity during the current world situation.  Managers say there is an increasing need for value based footwear.

It will be interesting to see if it works, and what locations the company chooses.  Payless was stuck with some bad mall locations.  You can get mall space cheap now, but I'm really not sure anyone would want it.  Malls depend on big anchor stores to drive traffic, and some big department stores are in serious trouble.  The dominoes started to tumble, even before things went south in March.

Speaking of malls, there are tons of "dead mall" videos on You Tube, and I stumbled across a new batch from a different creator this week.  The guy is based in Baltimore, so he's visited several malls in Maryland and central Pennsylvania I know rather well.  The video quality is really good and the pieces are well researched.

As I have noted here before, I grew up at a time when malls were cool and visiting one, especially out of town, was a real treat.  Yes, times change, but seeing some malls empty and others bulldozed makes me sad.

Pizza, on the other hand, makes me happy.  A man who owns 300 Pizza Hut restaurants is bankrupt and the restaurants are closing.  Pizza Hut is caught up in the shift brought on by the current world situation.  Dine-in is out.  Take out and delivery are in.

You rarely hear "Pizza Hut" discussed as one of the country's great pizzas.  Still, it does fill a need.

Like Payless, it will be interesting to see if the morphed company can survive.