Debenhams' five Northern Ireland stores are expected to continue trading after its administration process was dubbed a "national scandal" by a major shareholder.
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley called for the process to be reversed.
The so-called pre-pack administration wipes out the stakes held by Sports Direct and all other shareholders.
The chain will continue trading during the process, which does not affect the pension scheme, suppliers or landlords.
However, a new buyer will be sought and plans announced last year to close 50 stores will also proceed. The locations of the stores facing closure were not revealed.
Debenhams is the anchor tenant at five shopping centres in Northern Ireland - Newry's Quays Shopping Centre, Ballymena's Fairhill, Belfast's CastleCourt, Craigavon's Rushmere and Londonderry's Foyleside.
The Consumer Council urged any shoppers holding vouchers or gift cards for Debenhams - which are still valid during administration - to spend them as soon as possible.
Last year, vouchers for House of Fraser stores were not automatically honoured by new owner Sports Direct after it bought the business.
Yesterday management at CastleCourt said it did not wish to comment on the developments.
It is understood the Belfast and Craigavon stores are regarded as high-performing units across the chain's 166 stores.
Debenhams would not say how many staff are employed in Northern Ireland, but it's believed to be about 300.