Hampshire & Isle of Wight

John Lewis shuts Southsea Knight & Lee store

Knight & Lee Image copyright PA
Image caption The Knight & Lee store opened in Southsea in 1865 and was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1933

The Knight & Lee department store in Southsea is closing its doors to customers for the last time later after trading for more than 150 years.

The outlet is one of only two John Lewis shops in the UK to retain its original name and the first to be shut by the retailer since 2006.

It said the 35,000 sq ft shop was its smallest full-range department store and could not easily be modernised.

The Knight & Lee store opened in Southsea in 1865.

It was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1933.

'Lovely reminder'

A statement from the company said it would have required "significant investment" to modernise.

Earlier this year, John Lewis paid out its lowest bonus to staff since the 1950s as profits plunged last year amid "challenging" trading.

The partnership said "near constant discounting" from rivals had hit profits, particularly in its department stores.

Commenting on the closure, John Smith, partner and head of branch at Knight & Lee & Partners, said: "We had over 100 customers and former partners fill in cards with their Knight & Lee memories, and we have all really enjoyed hearing about the role it has played in our lives.

"It has been a lovely reminder of what has made this shop so special - the loyalty of our customers.

"That 'family store spirit' has been the difference and is what I will always remember."

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