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John Lewis & Waitrose Says Pants to the Tax

Posted: 29th August 2023

  • John Lewis and Waitrose to reduce the price of period knickers by 20%
  • ​Move aims to reduce period poverty and make period products more affordable
  • A pack of bestselling Love Luna period pants at John Lewis will reduce from £10 to £8.33

John Lewis and Waitrose have become the latest retailers to back industry-wide campaign to reduce the price of period knickers and  absorb the 20% VAT charge for its customers – as part of efforts to make period products affordable for all.

Tampon Tax – a tax on sanitary towels and tampons – was abolished in 2021, yet period knickers (a reusable alternative to single-use sanitary products) are still subject to the charge.

In our bid to make these products more accessible, we’ll be lowering the price on more than 30 period knickers at both John Lewis and Waitrose by 20% and absorbing the cost of the tax ourselves.

It is both the right thing to do, as well as a much-needed boost for customers looking for ways to save on essential sanitary products. At John Lewis for example, a pair of Love Luna Period Proof Full Briefs, retailing at £10 – would cost just £8.33 with the new changes.

This isn’t the first time we’ve stepped up to support the issue. Waitrose lowered the cost of other sanitary products in 2017, also absorbing the price of the 5% VAT charge for our customers, before the Government abolished the ‘Tampon Tax’ in January 2021.

Nicki Baggott, Sanitary Products Buyer for Waitrose, said: “It’s a no-brainer that period underwear should be classed as a period product., It’s the right thing to do, and will help our customers save money on everyday essentials.”

Jo McKee, Lingerie Buyer for John Lewis, adds: “We’re known for offering great-quality underwear at affordable prices to our customers. We feel it’s the right thing to abolish this tax on period underwear, to make these essential products as accessible as possible.”

Notes to editors

  • The cost of these products will be reduced next week at both John Lewis and Waitrose.
  • Reducing the price will mean the customer pays less, but Waitrose and John Lewis will fund the 20% VAT themselves and pay this over to HMRC.

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