John Lewis & Partners announces the closure of Knight & Lee

Wednesday 23 January 2019

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.

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.”

John Lewis Partnership maintenance function restructure

As part of its strategy to increase productivity, the John Lewis Partnership today announced it will restructure its maintenance function, moving the majority of activity and  service provision to a single maintenance provider - CBRE. This will create a Partnership-wide maintenance function, driving greater efficiency while improving maintenance service levels across its John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners shops, distribution network and head offices.

The announcement comes following an 18-month review of the Partnership’s maintenance function and will see 365 maintenance Partners move to the new provider in July 2019 under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

Notes to editors

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with 83,000 employees who are all Partners in the business and share in its profits. The Partnership operates on strong democratic principles, which means that every Partner has a say in how the organisation is run. The business has annual gross sales of over £11.5bn, 400 shops and a leading online business. Its commercial strategy is focused on differentiation rather than scale, through investment in innovation and Partner led service.

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 The retailer stocks around 350,000 separate lines in its department stores and on across fashion, home and technology. This year John Lewis & Partners won, 'Best Multichannel Retailer 2018', 'Best Clothing Retailer 2018', and 'Best Furniture Retailer 2018' at the GlobalData Retail Customer Satisfaction Awards 2018. John Lewis Finance offers a range of comprehensive financial services products - including Insurance, Foreign Currency, International Payments and the Partnership Card - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand


For further information on the closure of Knight & Lee, please contact:

Emily Dimmock,
Senior Communications Manager, John Lewis & Partners
0207 592 6994

For further information on the maintenance function restructure, please contact:

Marita Upeniece,
Senior External Communications Manager, John Lewis Partnership
0207 798 3494