Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid growing competition from off-price retailers and online.

The retailer, which has some 4,400 locations in more than 30 countries, plans to immediately close nearly 400 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico as it attempts to boost its balance sheet and restructure its debt load.

“This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” stated Payless CEO Paul Jones.

Payless listed liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the filing. It had roughly $500 million to $1 billion in assets. The company plans to continue…