At 35,000sq ft, Knight & Lee is the smallest full line shop in its department store group’s estate.
The retailer said the decision to close was ‘driven by a number of factors specific to the site: the physical condition, size, age and shape of the property restricts the customer offer; it would require significant investment to modernise; and, at the end of last year, a unique commercial opportunity presented itself to sell the freehold of the building’.
The closure puts all 127 staff at risk of redundancy but John Lewis & Partners said ‘every effort will be made to find them roles in John Lewis and Waitrose shops in the surrounding area’, adding that it is not planning other closures at this time.
Operations director Dino Rocos commented: “We have not taken this decision lightly and we considered every implication for our Partners [staff], 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 loyal and long-serving. We are doing everything we can to offer them roles elsewhere in our business and finding suitable roles for as many as possible is an absolute priority. Nevertheless, there will unfortunately be some redundancies and we will work hard to support all the Partners affected.”
John Lewis & Partners operates 51 John Lewis & Partners shops across the UK (37 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as www.johnlewis.com. The retailer stocks around 350,000 separate lines in its department stores and on www,johnlewis.com across fashion, home and technology.