Payless emerges from bankruptcy court protection after closing more than 673 stores

Discount footwear chain Payless Shoesource emerged from bankruptcy court protection Wednesday after shedding more than $435 million in debt and closing approximately 673 stores.

The emergence, just over four and a half months after the private equity-owned company filed its Chapter 11 petition, gives the chain a cleaned-up balance sheet as it vies to compete in a U.S. retail sector wracked by bankruptcies, store closings and surging e-commerce competition.