About 140 Co-op store workers could see their jobs saved as the East of England Co-op negotiates with another firm to take over four department stores.
The Co-op announced in April that stores in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Clacton-on-Sea and Witham would close in June.
The four shops are among 13 department stores owned by the Co-op in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
A spokesman said the talks were at a delicate stage.
At the Great Yarmouth store the carpet department has already shut and shoes are being sold in a closing-down sale.
Now the East of England Co-op society said it has postponed the anticipated closures - because of talks with another business.
Overall it has more than 200 outlets and employs 5,000 people.