Wellingborough House of Fraser logistics centre stops work

Labour MP Frank Field

Labour MP Frank Field

However, access to both warehouses remained closed on Thursday as the dispute remained unresolved and House of Fraser was forced to cancel all the orders.

The department store chain apologised after it scrapped all orders that had not already been sent to customers.

A dispute with third-party distributor XPO Logistics over non-payment has led to the closure of House of Fraser's warehouse and the cancelling of online orders.

The decision comes "after the chain's website was taken offline amid complaints from customers about delayed deliveries since the company was bought by Sports Direct for £90m last week", says Sky News.

"All customers affected will receive an email about the cancellation and refund in the next couple of days. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused".

"Some of the biggest brands are in a "Mexican standoff" with Mike Ashley over debt, sources said".

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Meanwhile, it is understood hundreds of suppliers to House of Fraser are owed GBP753m but will not be repaid by its new owner, Sports Direct.

"However, these actions were unable to address the downturn in trading performance and the directors concluded that the business had reached a stage where it was no longer able to continue to meet its ongoing costs in its current format", the report said.

Richard Lim, chief executive of economics research consultancy Retail Economics, believes the acquisition is a "hugely ambitious move" for Sports Direct.

"My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the High Street".

XPO has halted work as it tries to convince Sports Direct to honour existing contract terms.

Earlier this week, after Ashley said he planned to keep as many stores open "as possible", analyst Jonathan Pritchard at Peel Hunt said Sports Direct was refusing to engage with City analysts over the "fascinating" deal.

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