John Lewis is getting rid of its ‘never knowingly undersold’ price promise pledge - here’s why

John Lewis is planning to replace its current ‘Never knowingly undersold’ price match promise, as changes are made to the company (Photo: Shutterstock)

John Lewis is planning to replace its current ‘Never knowingly undersold’ price match promise, as changes are made to the company.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As the retailer continues to face tough competition from online competitors, the company’s new chief executive, Sharon White, told the Sunday Times that she expected the ‘Never knowingly undersold’ price pledge, which has been in place since 1925, to be retired.

Ms White said, “The proposition is important because it signifies being fair to society. We're reviewing it to improve it.”

As the department store tries to adapt to challenges brought on from the coronavirus pandemic, between 60 and 70 per cent of its sales are expected to be made online this year, compared to 40 per cent last year.

Earlier in 2020, the chain said it was reviewing the price pledge promise, explaining that "fair value" would still be central, but in a modernised way. John Lewis hopes to have a new slogan in place by October of this year.

What is the price pledge?

The retailer’s current price pledge promises to refund the difference in price to any shopper who could find an item sold at John Lewis cheaper elsewhere within 28 days.

However, this guarantee does not apply to sales from internet-only retailers, which usually have lower costs.

All change

John Lewis also plans to change its focus when it comes to which items it sells in stores.

Ms White said the chain needed "more inspiration, surprise, fun" and that it would compete with other companies by choosing its products better.

The chief executive said the chain is set to offer more financial, home and garden products, focusing less on women's fashion. It also plans to get rid of travel and spa services.

Ms White said she wanted to "shout more" about the values that John Lewis holds,concreting its reputation as a socially responsible retailer.