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Industry News

Published on January 23rd, 2019 | by The GC Team

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John Lewis to shut store in Southsea

John Lewis has announced that the Knight & Lee store in Southsea, Hampshire, which opened in 1865, was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1933 and is one of only two John Lewis shops in the UK to retain its original name, will close in July.

John Lewis said the size (35,000 sq. ft.) and condition of the Southsea store – the Partnership’s smallest full-range department store – meant that it would have needed “significant investment” to modernise it, and under the circumstances, John Lewis could better serve customers in Southsea “through our Southampton and Chichester shops, and online with an improved Click & Collect offer at Waitrose & Partners Southsea.” Another factor in the decision to close the store, according to Partner & Operations Director Dino Rocos, was “the opportunity to sell the property freehold.” The closure impacts the jobs of a reported 127 partners, and Mr Rocos, thanking the Southsea partners for their loyalty and hard work over the years, said: “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.”

John Lewis has been suffering from the retail downturn in common with most retailers, and Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of JLP, said earlier this year that the Partnership’s profits would be substantially lower this year, threatening the partners’ annual bonuses which have been paid every year since 1954. “Two main factors are affecting the retail sector,” said Mayfield. “Oversupply of physical space and relatively weak consumer demand.”

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