Payless has filed for bankruptcy and is closing all of its stores. Here's how long you have to use a gift card or refund an item.

PaylessShutterstock/Tupungato

Payless has filed for bankruptcy and is closing all of its 2,500 North American stores.

These stores are expected to close between the end of March and the end of May. Liquidation sales will begin imminently.

Despite this, Payless still plans to honor its customer gift cards and store credit until March 11. It will also take returns and exchanges on any non-final-sale items purchased before February 17, until March 1. The retailer has requested authorization from the bankruptcy court to do so. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

This is the second time in two years that the company has filed for bankruptcy protection. In April 2017, it filed for bankruptcy and then closed 400 stores immediately. A further 500 followed suit shortly after.

Read more: Payless has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in 2 years and is closing all of its 2,500 North American stores

"Payless emerged from its prior reorganization ill-equipped to survive in today's retail environment," Stephen Marotta, chief restructuring officer of Payless, said in a statement to the press on Monday.

"The prior proceedings left the Company with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint and yet-to-be-realized systems and corporate overhead structure consolidation. As a consequence ... we were ultimately unable to operate the North American retail and e-commerce operations on a sustainable basis."

Payless' stores in Latin America, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Saipan, and its 370 international franchisee locations across the Middle East, India, Indonesia, Indochina, Philippines, and Africa, will continue operating business as usual.

The discount chain joins a string of retailers including Shopko, Gymboree, and Charlotte Russe that have also filed for bankruptcy in the first two months of 2019.

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