// John Lewis is set to scrap its longstanding ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ price pledge on August 22
// The staff-owned business is expected to launch a marketing campaign to kick off its new sales pitch in the coming weeks
John Lewis is set to scrap its 97-year-old “never knowingly undersold” price pledge later this month but has yet to reveal the new scheme that will take its place.
The department store retailer told customers in an email it will not accept new claims under the pledge from 23 August, instead promising them that it is “always knowingly committed to outstanding value”.
After almost a century, John Lewis said it was scrapping the historic pledge to focus on “everyday quality and value”.
A spokesperson for the business told the Guardian that neither of these were its new slogan but a “short term message at point of sale to let customers know about the retirement of ‘never knowingly undersold’, and will only be used for another couple of weeks”.
John Lewis is expected to launch a marketing campaign to kick off its new sales pitch in the coming weeks.
In November last year, it registered a string of potential catch phrases with the Intellectual Property Office, including “John Lewis: Life is beautiful”, “For hopes and dreams: John Lewis”, “For the joy of life: John Lewis” and “John Lewis for all life’s moments”.
Back in February the staff-owned business said it would retire its well known slogan this summer because the price promise did not apply to online-only retailers, and shoppers were increasingly choosing to head online.
John Lewis said it would, however, invest £500m this year, £100m more than in 2021, in lowering prices to offer customers “everyday quality and value” as they face a squeeze on disposable income from the rising cost of living
The investment will partly help expand John Lewis’s Anyday value range, which it introduced last year.
Under the “never knowingly undersold” slogan, which was first introduced in 1925, the retailer commits to refund customers the difference if they find the same item on sale elsewhere for a lower price within 28 days.
Only retailers who have a national chain of physical stores are included in the comparison.
The retailer first said the pledge was under review in March 2020, a month after Sharon White joined as chair.
Since joining, White has overhauled the staff-owned business which also operates Waitrose, with the aim of reaching profits of £400m by 2025 compared with a loss of £26m reported this year.
The plan involves saving £300m in annual costs by this year and spending £1bn over the five years to 2025 to revamp shops and its online business.
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