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18 Oct 2020

Best time of year for John Lewis sales revealed

Exclusive research finds you may not need to wait for the Black Friday or Boxing Day sales to nab a deal at John Lewis

John Lewis is consistently the highest-scoring retailer in multiple product categories in the Which? annual shopping surveys - but it's not always the cheapest place to shop, which makes John Lewis sales particularly popular.

The sales season is nearly upon us, but exclusive Which? research has shown that you might not need to wait until Black Friday or the January sales to get a discount at John Lewis.

Here, we reveal the month of the year with the highest number of promotions at John Lewis and take a look at what the future holds for the much-loved department store.

John Lewis sales throughout the year

We dug into when you're most likely to find discounts at John Lewis by checking the number of online price reductions in each month of 2019 for more than 2,600 popular home and technology products.

October was a bumper month for promotions, with more than 1,300 across JohnLewis.com. And the majority of price drops that began in October also ran into November - suggesting that you may not need to wait until Black Friday to find a deal.

December saw the lowest number of new promotions: just 161 launched in the run up to Christmas 2019.

When are most items on sale at John Lewis?

The end of 'never knowingly undersold'

Retailers use plenty of psychological tactics to get you to part with your cash, from flash sales to reminders about abandoned virtual baskets when shopping online.

A popular way to attract customers is with a price-matching scheme, and John Lewis' 95-year-old 'never knowingly undersold' strapline is one of the most well known.

But the John Lewis price pledge has a major caveat: it only promises to price match competitors with a national high street presence, excluding online-only retailers such as Amazon from its promise - and this arguably makes it much less meaningful to shoppers.

This has been borne out with the retailer's announcement that it will replace its strapline with something more up to date. It's yet to reveal the official wording of the new promise, but said it will offer 'fair value for the modern era'.

And that's not the only change John Lewis is making. Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said earlier this year that eight of the retailer's 50 branches wouldn't reopen after the national lockdown. Plus, 2020 was the first time in 67 years that staff didn't receive their coveted annual bonus, also being told that it may not be reinstated for several more years.

John Lewis at Christmas

While it's yet to launch the much-awaited John Lewis Christmas advert, the Christmas shop at its flagship Oxford Street store is now open.

And for those who aren't keen or able to venture into store, it has launched a virtual Christmas shop too. You can use your computer, smartphone or tablet to walk around the shop floor, and even click on items you might want for your Christmas tree or table.

The shop is divided into three sections - the Christmas Forest, the Home of Christmas and the Festive Footpath - from which you can browse and even buy artificial Christmas trees and festive baubles, all from the comfort of your sofa.