A former John Lewis employee says losing the department store in Watford would be "devastating" for the town.

Caroline Sampson worked for the company in the 1980s and 90s, including at head office, and even worked part-time as a staff trainer at the Harlequin store in the late 90s.

She remains one of the shop's most dedicated shoppers and has been concerned by reports that John Lewis is unlikely to reopen all of its stores.

The Guardian listed three stores among others under threat of closure, which included Watford, while a John Lewis spokesperson has failed to give any assurances that the intu Watford store will reopen.

In a bid to show bosses at John Lewis how much the shop means to Watford shoppers, Mrs Sampson has launched a petition.

Her petition ‘Save John Lewis Watford’ has racked up more than 2,100 signatures in just a couple of days.

Explaining why she set up the petition, Mrs Sampson, who lives in Bushey, said: "I’ve been watching closely to see if John Lewis Watford is named as one of the stores reopening and it hasn’t yet.

"John Lewis is such a focal part of our town. It is the first shop I go to when I go to the intu centre and I visit John Lewis on a weekly basis.

"This is the anchor store for Watford and would definitely affect footfall if it were to go. I have friends who travel from across Hertfordshire and Harrow to John Lewis Watford.

"I would be devastated if we lost the store. It will be a loss to town and shopping centre, particularly after losing Debenhams as well."

Hillingdon Times:

Debenhams at intu Watford has closed, less than two years after it first opened in the intu extension

Mrs Sampson is not alone with hundreds and hundreds of people showing their support for the petition.

She said: I was hopeful people would feel same way as for me and that they’d sign the petition.

"People don’t want to lose John Lewis because it is an integral part of the Watford shopping experience. I’m delighted so many people have signed. I want to make people’s voices heard and show the powers that be at John Lewis that there is a real affection for this store.”

John Lewis is adamant no decisions have been made but have said reopening all of its stores is unlikely.

A spokesman said at the end of last week: "The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our Partners. As difficult as it is, it is highly unlikely we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.

"However no decision has been made and any details would be shared with Partners first by the middle of July."

The petition can be found here.