John Lewis has dealt a final blow to campaigners hoping to save its shop in Watford after officially confirming the store will shut.

The department store, which paid no rent for its Watford site, has released an updated statement which confirms its store at intu Watford will never reopen.

The news was first announced on July 9, and despite face-to-face talks between the chairman of John Lewis and Watford’s MP and mayor, John Lewis has not changed its mind.

A spokesperson said on Friday: "This is a very sad occasion and one we never thought was imaginable when we first opened these shops.

"Our expectation was that we would trade in these locations for many years to come, but they were financially challenged before the pandemic and we have not been able to find a way that would allow us to turn that around.

"We are grateful to those who have expressed their support since announcing the proposed closure last month, and for the incredible professionalism our partners have shown - they remain our absolute priority and will be fully supported over the coming weeks."

Shoppers showed their support for the historic Watford store in John Lewis when the closure was announced with more than 13,000 people signing a petition to ‘save John Lewis Watford’.

Petition creator Caroline Sampson described the closure as “devastating” for Watford and urged the company to keep a presence in the town.

A turnaround seemed unlikely when Watford mayor Peter Taylor and MP Dean Russell sat down with Dame Sharon White, the chairman of John Lewis, at Watford Borough Council’s offices on July 23.

Watford Observer:

A meeting was held between Watford's MP, mayor, and John Lewis on July 23

They both tried to encourage the retailer to stay in the town but Mr Taylor reported that Ms White was “clear about the challenges John Lewis stores face with more online sales and massive business rate bills set by the government”.

The full list of John Lewis stores closing are its department stores in Watford and the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, as well as smaller stores in Croydon, Swindon, Tamworth, Newbury, Heathrow Terminal two, and London St Pancras station.

The loss of John Lewis in Watford, which had 382 employees, followed the news Debenhams at the intu Watford extension had closed, not even two years after it opened.