John Lewis & Partners has announced that it will close its Knight & Lee store in Southsea, putting 127 staff jobs at risk of being lost.

John Lewis said that the decision to close the 35,000 square foot store - which is the smallest in the company’s estate - was made after a commercial opportunity arose last year to sell the freehold of the building. The Knight & Lee store was opened in 1865 and acquired by John lewis in 1933.

The company added that the decision is part of John Lewis’ wider strategy to prioritise differentiation, the focus in property is on maintaining the existing estate, with some resizing, repurposing or relocating over time.

Commenting on the announcement in a statement, Dino Rocos, partner and operations director, said: "We have not taken this decision lightly and we considered every implication for our partners, customers and the community. However, a unique combination of factors, including the significant investment required and the opportunity to sell the property freehold, makes this the right decision for the financial sustainability of our business.

“We also want to bring the very best of what John Lewis & Partners has to offer to all of our customers and, in Southsea, we believe we can better serve them through our Southampton and Chichester shops, and online with an improved Click & Collect offer at Waitrose & Partners Southsea.

“Our team at Knight & Lee are a loyal and long-serving team of Partners. We are doing everything we can to offer them roles elsewhere in our business and finding suitable roles for as many Partners as possible is an absolute priority. Nevertheless, there will unfortunately be some redundancies and we will work hard to support all the Partners affected.

“We want to thank our Partners and Knight & Lee customers for their loyalty over the years.”

 

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