Dean Russell's statement following the closure of John Lewis


Dear Resident,

As you will be aware, yesterday the John Lewis Partnership announced it will not reopen its store in Watford. This is deeply disappointing for both customers and Partners as John Lewis has served our Town well for so many years. For many, John Lewis was synonymous with shopping in our High Street.

Given the impact that this will have on our Town I am in contact with the John Lewis head office for reassurance that their staff will be supported as a priority. I also visited the Intu yesterday to meet with the Centre Director and speak with staff. I want to report back to you the outcome of these conversations.

I was informed that staff will now enter into a consultation process. If redundancies are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for staff who wish to remain within the Partnership. John Lewis has also made a commitment to provide support through a unique Retraining Fund, which will contribute up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years, for any Partner with more than two years' service. The Partnership also intends to provide a £1 million Community Investment Fund, which would be shared between the eight affected communities to support local projects.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Watford store was one of eight identified as already financially challenged, and the pandemic has accelerated the switch from shopping in-store to online. Therefore, it is so important to support our High Street and why I am backing the #lovelocalbusiness campaign. I will work with the John Lewis Partnership to ensure those staff made redundant are able to utilise the government’s newly announced funding in retraining and careers advice.

I will do all I can to encourage new stores to open and drive new trade into Watford. Wednesday’s announcement by the Chancellor of £30 billion to support jobs and businesses has undoubtedly come at a time when many have been struggling and need to get customers through their doors.

Watford has always, and will remain, a hub for commerce, trade and employment. As we rebuild our economy following COVID-19, I will work tirelessly to ensure Watford succeeds.

My Plan For Watford section header

Dean is actively involved in the community and is leading local and national campaigns and initiatives to make a difference for people across Watford and around the UK. Use the links below to find out more. If you don't see something important to you, let Dean know via a quick community survey here. 

Funding For
Watford General

Find out about Dean's successful lobbying for £400m funding for West Herts Hospital Trust.

Infrastructure &Transport

From Woodmere Avenue to local infrastructure and transport. Find out about Dean's local work. 

Mental Health
& Wellbeing

Find out Dean's plans for mental health & wellbeing across our town.

Safe Streets &
Fighting Crime

Find out about Dean's work to put victims first, tackle crime and ensure our streets are safe.

Tackling Homelessness

Dean has helped secure over £4m to end homelessness in Watford. 

Education, Skills & Jobs

Find out about the latest initiatives for skills and jobs from kickstarter schemes to training. 

Environment & Waste

Join Dean in ending the use of single use plastic and waste across Watford. 

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