Payless ShoeSource Inc, the largest US shoe retailer, reported sales at stores open at least a year fell 10.3 per cent in January.

The Topeka, Kansas-based company said it continues to expect a loss in the fourth quarter 2001 after costs of closing 104 under-performing stores.

Total sales for the four weeks ended 2 February dropped 27.4 per cent to $138.3 million from $190.6 million in the comparable five-week period last year.

In a news release Payless said fiscal fourth-quarter same-store sales were off 5.4 per cent from a year ago, while total sales declined 8.3 per cent to $642.3 million.