Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/10/08/john_lewis_back_in_ebusiness/

John Lewis back in e-business

Ditches 'never knowingly undersold' line

By Robert Blincoe

Posted in e-Business, 8th October 2001 11:05 GMT

John Lewis Partnership has relaunched its Website with six-times more product lines than first time around. At the same time it's ducked the famous 'never knowingly undersold' marketing commitment for its ecommerce venture.

The souped-up site went live today. TAlthough the range of lines has increased, the number of computer products isn't vast - there are Psion Revos, Handspring Visor Edges and Deluxes, and Sony Cliés. There are no PCs, but you can choose from a selection of computer desks.

The department store chain decided to remove the 'never knowingly undersold' tag for the Internet because it couldn't be never knowingly undersold. Merchandise director Nigel Wreford-Brown told the Daily Telegraph, that: "Anybody who does make that claim is being very brave indeed."

John Lewis entered the online market with the JohnLewisNow venture, now defunct, which offered just 800 lines. This February it bought the UK business of the US e-tailer Buy.com for $4m (£2.9m), and is relaunching as JohnLewis.com on the back of that. It is offering 5,000 lines at the start.

JohnLewis.com is concentrating on home lines, and is leaving PCs and other product ranges to Buy.com. This is bound to change as John Lewis is a far better known and more trusted name than Buy.

In his chat with the Telegraph, Wreford-Brown said he thought the "suicidal internet pricing" model was disappearing, and that John Lewis had been caught out in the past but wasn't going to let it happen again.

John Lewis will be investing in excess of £30 million over the next 4 years to bring the site to profitability.

As for being 'never knowingly undersold' JohnLewis.com is offering Handspring Visor Edges, in various colours, for £269 plus delivery. You can get it for £248.75 (inc P&P) from Grouptrade, £272.75 (inc P&P) from Nomitica , and £299.61 (inc P&P) from Simply.co.uk.

Standard 3 - 5 days delivery from JohnLewis.com costs £2.95 per delivery address. Orders over £200, to one address, are free. ®

Related Link

Telegraph story
www.johnlewis.com