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John Lewis says it’s responding to the shift online as it plans to retire its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge

John Lewis' Edinburgh store. Image courtesy of the John Lewis Partnership

John Lewis says it’s responding to changing customer behaviour and concerns about rising prices as it plans to retire its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ pledge in favour of a focus on everyday value.

The longstanding pledge, it says, does not work for a world in which shoppers are doing more of their shopping online – and in any case it doesn’t apply to online-only retailers. Instead, John Lewis is to introduce a Quality and Value promise that its shoppers will always get good value when they buy from it – rather than constantly reacting to other retailers’ discounting. That will take over as the Never Knowingly Undersold pledge is retired in the summer.

Under the new promise, John Lewis will invest £500m in keeping prices down through value – a figure that it says is 25% higher than the amount it spent last year in responding to other retailers’ price changes.

The Never Knowingly Undersold promise was first made in 1925, when John Lewis had only two shops, to enable shoppers to check the prices in other nearby shops and match them. It hasn’t ever applied to online-only retailers – but to national retailers selling the same branded product both online and in-store.

Pippa Wicks, executive director of John Lewis, says: “Customers are tightening their belts and we’re responding so John Lewis is more affordable for every customer, every day 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. 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.”

Today’s news builds on John Lewis’ Anyday range, an affordable range that is sold online, in-store and at Waitrose since it was first introduced in spring 2021. Since then, says John Lewis, it has become the most successful brand launch in its history, with £125m in sales so far, to more than 2m customers, an an average 20% discount to its other brands.

John Lewis, a Top50 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, also says that shoppers will also be able to get more personalised offers and rewards through the My John Lewis loyalty scheme.

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