Published Thursday, 07 February 2013
The site at Sprucefield where the store was to be built. (© Presseye)
Joe Jordan from the Belfast Chamber of Commerce said the development at the site near Lisburn would threaten jobs and investment.
He has called on John Lewis to consider an alternative site at Royal Exchange in Belfast.
"If John Lewis went to Sprucefield that would be displacement of jobs rather than the creation of new jobs," Mr Jordan said on Thursday.
"We don't see why Belfast, Lisburn and possibly Newry should - was it 1,500 jobs were talked about? I don't see why the city should lose that employment to a regional shopping centre like Sprucefield."
Last week John Lewis announced that it had withdrawn its application to build the £150m department store on a 500,000 sq ft site in Co Antrim.
It followed a decision by Environment Minister Alex Attwood to restrict the scale of the scheme and limit it to stores selling "bulky goods".
First Minister Peter Robinson said it is "outrageous" that jobs and investment were potentially lost, adding that John Lewis may go to Dublin instead.
Mr Attwood explained that he wants to see retailers coming to Northern Ireland but must acknowledge impact of their proposals on Belfast and on other towns.
In a statement, John Lewis said: "John Lewis has reiterated its continued interest in opening a new department store at Sprucefield".