intu shopping centre has responded to the news that John Lewis is closing its Watford branch.

John Lewis confirmed earlier today that it will close eight stores in the UK, including its department store in intu Watford.

Watford Borough Council confirmed that John Lewis did not pay rent for the site in Watford, but the chain said it is closing stores to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs”.

General manager at intu Watford, Vicki Costello, said today: "We continue to work closely with all our brands, both retail and leisure, as they gradually re-open their stores at intu Watford.

Watford Observer:

"This support has included practical advice and support to encourage safe re-opening, as well as providing financial support by substantially reducing their service charge costs.

"It is very disappointing to hear that John Lewis has taken the decision to close their store at intu Watford.

"This is a decision that has been made solely by the brand, and our thoughts are with their staff at this difficult time.

"The John Lewis store is a prime spot within a popular centre, we are confident that we will find an alternative use for this space, providing something new and exciting for our visitors to enjoy."


John Lewis has had a long history in the town, starting out as Trewins in Queens Road in 1880 before the name was changed in 2001.

Watford Labour group leader Nigel Bell said the closure of John Lewis in the town "is a true shame".

He said: "Starting at Trewins in Queens Road, John Lewis has been in the heart of Watford for 140 years, 30 of which in our shopping centre.

"It is a truly terrible day for Watford to lose one of our historic shops and even more jobs in Watford as a result of this ongoing crisis and downward economy."

Watford Observer:

Chris Ostrowski, who fought to become the town's MP for Labour back in December, said: "I started my career at John Lewis and it's terribly sad to see the shop close here in Watford. 

"My heart goes out to the staff and I call on the Government and John Lewis to give them all the support they need at this difficult time."