John Lewis announces that Knight & Lee in Southsea will close

A HISTORIC department store is set to close later this year, it has been announced.

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 12:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:38 pm
Knight & Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea.
Picture: Sarah Standing (180842-1693)
Knight & Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (180842-1693)

John Lewis Partnership have announced that the Knight & Lee in Palmerston Road will shut in July after being part of the high street for more than a century. 

Staff were informed of the news this morning and a sign in the window of the store says that it will be closed for the rest of the day but will reopen tomorrow. 

John Lewis say that 127 jobs are at risk following the announcement of the closure. It refers to its staff as ‘partners’.

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Knight & Lee in Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (180842-1693)

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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 and 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.’ 

Explaining the reason behind the decision to shut Knight & Lee, John Lewis said that it had been driven by a number of factors specific to the site. 

These included: 

- 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, there was a chance to sell the freehold of the building and close Knight & Lee.

In 2014 John Lewis previously pledged to keep Knight & Lee open in Southsea.