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Payless Inc. is liquidating its U.S. and Puerto Rico stores and shutting down its online operations as the upheaval in the retail industry claims its latest victim.

The discount shoe chain is starting liquidation sales on Feb. 17, and expects the stores to remain open until at least the end of March, according to a statement. The company was preparing to file for bankruptcy for the second time in two years, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.

The liquidation process doesn't affect Payless's franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business, according to the statement. The Topeka, Kansas-based retailer has been looking for loans to get through bankruptcy proceedings, the people with knowledge said last week.

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