On the 23rd January 2019, it was announced that Knight and Lee is to close, with Saturday 13th July 2019 being the last day the branch is open for trade.
The following was published by the John Lewis & Partners Press Centre:
John Lewis & Partners today announced that it will close Knight & Lee & Partners in Southsea, which at 35,000 sq ft is the smallest full line shop in its estate, in July 2019.
The decision to close Knight & Lee has been driven by a number of factors specific to this site:
The physical condition, size, age and shape of the property restricts the customer offer;
It would require significant investment to modernise Knight & Lee; and
At the end of last year, a unique commercial opportunity presented itself to sell the freehold of the building and close Knight & Lee.
John Lewis has a small, high quality shop estate and its shops play a critical role in its relationship with customers. As announced last year, as part of its strategy update and plan to prioritise differentiation, the focus in property is on maintaining the existing estate, with some resizing, repurposing or relocating over time. It keeps its estate under review to ensure these shops are offering customers inspiration, are in the right locations and of the right size to deliver financial returns. John Lewis is not planning other closures at this time.
The closure puts all 127 shop Partners at risk of redundancy. Every effort will be made to find them roles in John Lewis and Waitrose shops in the surrounding area. The shop is not opening today to allow for discussions with Partners and will reopen tomorrow.
Dino Rocos, Partner & 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.”