Statement regarding closure of John Lewis
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said, "This is incredibly sad news for our town. John Lewis has a long history in Watford and Trewins, which started on Queen's Road in 1880, has been in Watford for 140 years. John Lewis and its predecessor have played a really important part in the lives of generations of people in our town and this is undoubtedly a heartbreaking loss.
"I have contacted the Chairman of John Lewis and have had a meeting with the retailer today. Along with the shopping centre’s management we have tried to persuade John Lewis to stay in the town. I will be demanding answers to people’s questions, particularly why exactly they have chosen to close the Watford store and whether there is anything we can do to reverse this decision.
"My thoughts are with the John Lewis staff who are losing their jobs and facing a very worrying time. We are putting a package of support together for those affected and will work with John Lewis, as well as any other impacted businesses, to make sure that anyone who needs help and advice receives it.
"John Lewis paid no rent on its site in Watford and it is clear they are facing a challenging time nationally and are looking to scale back their business. Covid-19 is proving tough for many retailers and I would encourage everyone in our town to support our local businesses - they need your help now more than ever.
"I know that our town will work together to get through this pandemic and the economic challenges that we face. We need to care for each other and adapt to the new realities that we face so that we get through this difficult period together."