The embattled department store chain House of Fraser has cancelled all orders placed online after a dispute with a warehouse operator. 

The company has apologised to customers and said it would be issuing refunds.

The move 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.

The Times said XPO logistics, which operates a House of Fraser distribution centre in Wellingborough, has told employees to stop accepting orders from the department store.

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

HoF has told suppliers they will be not paid for orders dispatched before 10 August.

We have taken the decision to cancel and refund all orders that have not already been sent to customers, the department store said on Facebook.

We didn’t take this decision lightly, but since we cannot give our customers clear assurances of when their orders will be delivered, we believe cancellation is the best option.

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 and thank you from everyone at House of Fraser for your patience at this time.

The announcement was met with dismay by some customers who had placed orders online, some several days ago.

One said on Twitter: Absolutely disgraceful. Ordered a £90 purse last Thursday. Yes a week ago for my daughter’s birthday. Not 1 email concerning delivery or info and now order cancelled and you say email in a few days!!! Get my money back ASAP

A message posted on the retailer’s website said: We’re working hard to makes some improvements to the website. Son’t worry, we will be back up and running as soon as possible.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley said his ambition was to turn the department store into the Harrods of the high street.

(c) Sky News 2018: House of Fraser cancels online orders and offers refunds