John Lewis & Partners is set to shut its smallest shop by the summer, as it continues restructuring its estate.

John Lewis said it will close its Knight & Lee store in Southsea, Hampshire this July, putting 127 staff at risk of redundancy.

The department store chain said the store’s 35,000 sq ft size and the age of the property restricted the customer proposition. It said that it would “require significant investment” to modernise the site.

John Lewis added that it had been presented with a “unique commercial opportunity” to sell the freehold of the business and that it was not planning any other closures.

It’s the first time the department store chain has closed a store since 2006. 

John Lewis operations director Dino Rocos warned there were likely to be redundancies, but said the business would make “every effort” to find roles in nearby John Lewis and Waitrose shops.

Rocos said: “We are doing everything we can to offer 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.”