National newspaper sources have indicated the John Lewis store in Watford could be one of the branches at risk of closing forever.

And when the Watford Observer contacted the department store chain, they did not comment on the future of the branch at the intu centre.

A leaked letter to staff from John Lewis chairman Sharon White this week revealed plans to cut jobs, close stores, ditch staff bonuses, and close a head office as part of a cost-cutting drive.

The department store chain has so far reopened 22 of its stores, with a further ten announced yesterday.

But Ms White confirmed in a letter to thousands of staff that it is “highly unlikely we will reopen all our John Lewis stores”.

The Telegraph is reporting that John Lewis could permanently close up to 19 of its 51 stores while the Guardian has reported stores being considered for closure include Watford, Newcastle, and Newbury – although nothing has been confirmed by John Lewis.

We asked John Lewis if the company could give assurances that the Watford store will be reopening.

A spokesperson responded: "The health and wellbeing of our customers and Partners is our utmost priority so we are taking a phased approach to the reopening of shops with comprehensive safety and social distancing measures in place.

"To date we have reopened 22 shops and are assessing the effectiveness of every change implemented, while also making adjustments as we go, to ensure that these shops are as safe as they possibly can be.

"We will be announcing further shop openings throughout the summer."

Two weeks ago, the general manager at intu Watford, Vicki Costello, said staff at John Lewis were preparing the store for reopening.

Intu, which went into administration last week, is understood to be waiting for an update from John Lewis on its store in Watford.

The Evening Standard reported on Wednesday that decisions on store closures could be decided in mid-July.

If John Lewis were to close in Watford, it would be the second major department store to close in recent weeks, following the closure of Debenhams.

The John Lewis store at Brent Cross Shopping Centre remains closed but the branch in Welwyn Garden City has reopened.