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John Lewis will axe ‘never knowingly undersold’ pledge on Tuesday 23 August

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Written by: Sarah Davidson
15/08/2022
John Lewis will drop its century-old ‘Never knowingly undersold’ price match promise on Tuesday 23 August, saying just 1% of customers use it.

The retail giant said it is retiring the price match scheme because customers have changed the way they shop, increasingly turning online rather than the high street.

‘Never knowingly undersold’ was introduced in 1925. If customers found a like-for-like branded product cheaper in a different store, John Lewis would check then match the price.

While it applies to branded products at national retailers that sell both online and in shops, the price match guarantee doesn’t apply to online-only retailers.

John Lewis said ‘Never knowingly undersold’ is “no longer enough to assure trust” because it applies to fewer sales as more people shop online. In fact, just 1% of John Lewis shoppers used the price match scheme last year.

Up until 22 August it will continue to accept claims for Never Knowingly Undersold price matches. However, from 23 August it will no longer accept claims to price match with other retailers.

Instead, it is pledging £500m investment as part of its ‘Quality & Value’ pledge across prices in-store and online.

It said this new approach will mean “all John Lewis customers will benefit from great prices every day” without having to shop around.

Rather than reacting to other retailers’ price changes, it will proactively lead on great value, the retail giant added.

It said it will continue to monitor other retailers’ prices and will still offer its standard two-year guarantee on electricals and five-year guarantee on TVs.

Customers of ‘My John Lewis Loyalty scheme’ will receive more personalised offers and rewards too.

‘More affordable’

Pippa Wicks, executive director of John Lewis, said earlier this year that the move recognised that customers are “tightening their belts” and dropping the pledge would ensure John Lewis is more affordable for every customer whether shopping in-store or online.  

“Never knowingly undersold has been a cherished sign of trust for John Lewis for a century but it doesn’t fit with how customers shop today as more purchases are made online,” she said. “Our new £500m investment means all our customers can trust they’re getting the quality, style and service they expect from John Lewis at great value prices.”

The Quality & Value pledge follows on from the launch of the ANYDAY product range in store and online at John Lewis and Waitrose. It said it is its “most successful” launch with over two million shoppers in just nine months since launch in 2021, notching up £125m in sales.

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