Argos calls in agencies for secret project

Catalogue shopping chain Argos is talking to advertising agencies about a secret project.

The retailer was bought recently by Great Universal Stores after a fraught 1.9bn takeover. It owns 400 stores in the UK.

The company refuses to discuss details of the project, but confirms it is talking to a number of agencies.

Argos’ mainstream advertising account, which was worth 9.9m last year, is handled by Ogilvy & Mather. However, the company denies the discussions signal any dissatisfaction with O&M’s work.

A spokeswoman says: “We have no plans to review our advertising account at the moment. We are very happy with the work. We’re talking to a couple of people about a new venture but we’re in the early stages.”

Argos has been through a difficult time in the past year, which featured a hostile takeover by GUS. The chain is still looking for a permanent chief executive to replace acting boss Graham Frost. He took over from Stuart Rose, who left after the takeover was confirmed.

Paula Vennells, marketing director, was appointed (MW May 14) after John Mayhead was ousted by Frost and given the job of managing Argos’ Premier Points loyalty scheme.

Mayhead has since announced his decision to leave in March (MW December 10).

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