Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has agreed to buy the House of Fraser department store chain for £90m.
The deal was announced just hours after the 169 year-old chain went into administration when talks with its creditors failed to reach an agreement.
Its 59 shops were expected to open on Friday, including the 31 that had already been marked for closure.
It employs 16,000, 5,900 directly and 10,100 in concessions. Administrators said jobs could be "preserved".