Retail merger to boost Coles’ role

Somerfield marketing director David Coles will become marketing head of a 1400-strong high street food store chain if the proposed 1.2bn merger of Kwik Save and Somerfield goes ahead.

Coles was marketing director at Safeway before joining Somerfield four years ago. He began his marketing career at United Biscuits as a marketing controller then stepped up to become marketing director at Allied Bakeries.

KwikSave group marketing and trading director Philip Smith, who quit Kraft Jacobs Suchard to join Kwik Save, will become deputy chief executive of the new company. It is not yet clear how much direct responsibility Smith will retain for marketing.

Analysts were told last week that Kwik Save finance director Derek Pretty will be managing director of Kwik Save within the new group, and will report directly to Smith.

Coles is expected to review all agency relationships. RPM3 handles the 13m Somerfield account and McCann-Ericson manages the 7m Kwik Save business from its London office. Universal McCann handles the Kwik Save media account, while Somerfield’s media is handled by CIA Medianetwork.

A Kwik Save spokeswoman says: “Everything will be subject to review at some stage. Obviously we are looking to make cost cuts and some things will have to be consolidated.”

She adds: “Briefs are not specific at the moment. We need to gain shareholder approval first.”

The Kwik Save and Somerfield brands will be initially retained – the latter for supermarket formats and the former for discount stores. But analysts expect a new name or a total conversion of fascias for the Somerfield brand in the future.

News Analysis, page 23.

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