WHEN you think about John Lewis, it’s usually about its famous Christmas ads rather than low prices.
But some shoppers may be surprised to know that there are ways to save money when you shop at the department store chain.
Ex-John Lewis employee Keith Grinstead, 69, from Suffolk, worked for two and a half years selling Nespresso coffee machines and products at his local store before leaving in January this year.
From his time on the shop floor, Keith knows all the secret ways of paying less for your shopping.
He says you can get money knocked off your bill even if it’s weeks since you bought your haul.
That’s why The Sun picked his brains for all the insider knowledge – and how to save hundreds of pounds on big ticket items like washing machines and tumble dryers.
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To find your nearest store and put Keith’s tips to the test, you can use John Lewis’ store checker tool on its website.
The giant currently has 50 shops across the UK after slashing the number of stores it owns.
In March last year it said some of its 42 stores would not be reopening after lockdown. Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on April 12, 2021, after being shut for months.
It came as the retiler announced a £517million loss for 2020 when the Covid crisis left stores closed for months.
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Although it can be a little more expensive than other shops, it is investing £500million to offer “John Lewis quality at great value prices” amid the UK’s deepening cost of living crisis.
Announcing the investment in February, executive director Pippa Wicks said: “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.”
John Lewis also has a popular Anyday brand, which is on average a fifth cheaper than its other ranges – and the shop makes £150million from selling the bargain line.
Track prices AFTER your purchase
It’s always important to track and compare prices of items before you splash out on your shopping.
That’s because you could find the same – or similar – item elsewhere.
But Keith said shoppers will want to track the price of their item even AFTER they’ve bought it.
“When I was there, John Lewis had a policy where if you buy something and it goes down in price after you’ve bought it, you have 28 days to go back in and claim the difference in money.”
He said some items are more likely to yo-yo in price than others. Some kitchen appliances can nearly halve in price sometimes.
“I had a coffee machine priced at £299, and then for about five weeks, it went down to £218.
“While the price of soup makers could vary from £25 to £40.
“Other items – like food processors – tend to stay relatively the same.”
The reason why you can get money back on your shopping is due to John Lewis’ Never Knowingly Undersold pledge.
It matches the prices of rivals if they are selling the same goods cheaper.
But the store is due to axe this policy in summer this year – so you don’t have long to make the most of it.
Ask for display items
Ever wondered what happens to all the items displayed on the shop floor?
They’ll end up being scooped up by savvy savers on the hunt for a bargain in most cases, Keith said.
You can get a discount up to to 20%, he said.
“Don’t be frightened to ask for display model – you could get money off.
“If it’s in a bad or damaged box, say you’re buying it as a present for someone and need a discount – nine times out of 10 you’ll get one.
However, John Lewis told The Sun that in the majority of cases, these items are not for sale – and “perfect” stock is sold at full price.
Hidden clearance goodies
Not all of John Lewis’ bargains are put out on the shop floor.
There can be hidden gems lurking in the back room.
In cases where a customer has ordered in a product to their local store to collect, and no longer wants it, it might then be marked down as a clearance item, Keith said.
This usually happens when the item is not normally stocked in store – but rather than sending it back to the warehouse, it will be marked down in price.
“I’ve known high end hoovers, washing machines and tumble dryers to be priced down from £400 to £200,” Keith said.
“One time, a washing machine was £250, but had been marked down to £99.”
As many of these items will be stored behind the scenes, Keith said to ask staff for information on any clearance items in the warehouse.
“Ask where clearance goods are, or if there’s some out the back,” he said.
John Lewis told The Sun that all items returned by customers that are imperfect are put on sale and sold on the shop floor.
Head to the back of the store
Certain items are sold particularly cheap to get customers into stores, Keith said.
This could be a particular TV or other gadgets like HiFi systems.
These items will usually be tucked away at the back end of the shop floor, Keith said.
But it means that you’ll have to walk through the whole of the store to get to the product you want to buy.
“Cosmetics are placed by front door and special offers and discounts are near entrance so you’re more likely to pick them up,” he said.
“So if you’re going in for a particular bargain, try and avoid being tempted to pick up something else.”
John Lewis said most items on promotion are stocked in the home department.
A spokesperson said: “We’re committed to keeping prices low, and have pledged a £500 million investment to bring John Lewis quality at great value to our customers however and wherever they shop.”
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John Lewis is also looking to build 10,000 flats and homes for rent.
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