John Lewis & Partners has announced it will close its Knight & Lee store in Southsea in July 2019, putting all 127 staff at risk of redundancy.
According to the group, the decision to close the property has been “driven by a number of factors”, including the physical condition, size, age and shape of the property restricting the customer offer and the significant investment required to modernise the property.
Additionally, John Lewis said at the end of last year, a “unique” commercial opportunity presented itself to sell the freehold of the building and close Knight & Lee. The group added that “every effort” will be made to find staff roles in John Lewis and Waitrose shops in the surrounding area.
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.”
He added: “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.”