John Lewis has scrapped its 28-day return period and launched a “never ending refund” in a bid to attract cautious customers.

The department store wants the scheme to give customers who are being careful with their spending more confidence during straitened times.

Shoppers can return unwanted gifts or unused items after the 28 day period as long as they have the receipt. The initiative also applies to items bought before this year.

John Lewis retail director Andrew Murphy said that the scheme would not mean that the department store would be inundated with last season’s product since items must be accompanied by a receipt which is often not kept by the consumer for long.

He said: “We are not doing it so people can clear out their wardrobes. We are doing it to underline to people in economically difficult times that there is one shop you can buy from where you will not end up regretting it.”