John Lewis is closing its first store since 2006 – is it your local?

It's the latest bit of bad news for the high street

Debenhams, House of Fraser, M&S and HMV have all announced store closures in recent months, but there was one brand we though immune to high street woes. But it's been announced today that John Lewis is closing one of its iconic store.

Related: Is your local House of Fraser store closing its doors? Find out here...

The unfortunate store in question is Knight & Lee & Partners in Southsea. The 35,000 sq ft branch is the smallest in the John Lewis portfolio.

building with stores and white windows

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Its doors will be shutting to shoppers for the final time July 2019. It's also closed today, though John Lewis hopes to find alternative roles for many of the 127 Partners employed there

According to an official statement, there are various reasons why Knight & Lee faces closure. A lot of it is down  to the age and layout of the building – the renovation required to transform the store into the modern retail experience we expect today is too much for the retail giant to take on. So instead, it's decided to sell.

It's not all bad news for John Lewis fans though. It's not planning to shut any more branches at this time. That includes its Westfield store in London's White City, which by contrast promises state-of-the-art shopping facilities.

john lewis store in white building

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Read all about it: John Lewis to open new store in Westfield White City – and here's what it has to offer

'We have not taken this decision lightly,' says Dino Rocos, Partner & Operations Director. '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.'

'We want to thank our Partners and Knight & Lee customers for their loyalty over the years.'

Does the closure of Knight & Lee affect you?

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.