Sports Direct has blamed Harrods for the closure of its Milton Keynes House of Fraser, which will see the loss of 172 jobs just before Christmas.

The department store chain’s owner said Harrods, which has a legacy on the lease of the store in the MK Centre in Milton Keynes and its managing director Michael Ward, decided to take the store back, resulting in 172 job losses “and a significant amount of vacant space” in the centre.

The retailer said it “made multiple offers to both stay and invest in the entire store, or alternatively to take the part of the store which will now be vacant” but have “yet to receive formal acceptance” from Harrods.

As a result, it said it had been left “with no choice but to announce the closure of the store on January 31” causing a “devastating” number of redundancies.

It called on both Harrods and Ward to “now seriously consider our offers and help to save jobs in the run-up to Christmas”.

A spokesperson for Harrods denied the claims made by Sports Direct.

They said: “This is about House of Fraser making the decision to close. Harrods has been in conversations with House of Fraser and the landlord to ensure the best outcome and build a successful business in the local area if they were to leave.”

Harrods was bought by House of Fraser in 1959, before being sold to Mohamed Fayed in 1985 and then turned into a private business in 1994. Harrods holds a historical lease contract which would see the Milton Keynes store revert to it if the store was to become vacant.