Slogan Doctor: John Lewis - 'Never knowingly undersold'

Introduced in 1925 by John Spedan Lewis, the one who created the famous partnership structure, this is an unusual slogan in that it makes a specific promise: that John Lewis will match the prices of anyone, anywhere. That's a bold commitment, and it is no surprise that the chain has been trying to rein in expectations. In a trial scheme in Scotland this month, it has declared that, while continuing to match national chain prices, it will only match those of independent stores within eight miles of its own branches. But people don't shop in John Lewis for price; they shop there because it offers good products and excellent service. The slogan just offers a reassurance. I doubt if more than a tiny minority of customers ever challenge its prices, but they like to know they can. The odd word 'knowingly' humanises the store, gives it a conscience. John Lewis may not volunteer the cheapest prices, but bring them to its attention and it will put things right. It matches the store's image to a tee: not flashy or cheap, but decent.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

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