Littlewoods has appointed Barrington Lorains Johnson (BLJ) to its &£5m advertising account amid speculation that it is to reduce its catalogue portfolio.
BLJ replaces Yellow M on the Index Extra and Littlewoods stores and catalogue businesses after a four-way pitch with J Walter Thompson Manchester, RSCR Direct Marketing and Different.
The review, which was revealed in Marketing Week (May 6), did not include Littlewoods’ remaining catalogue titles: Index, Janet Frazer and Hamper Mail.
The decision means the Index catalogue, which was last year the subject of a campaign worth almost &£1m, is a likely casualty of a strategic review expected before the end of the year. Littlewoods head of media services Tim Rogers, who conducted the agency review, says that no above-the-line work is planned for Index. He refused to comment on whether the brand would be dropped, saying: “A lot is being reviewed. All I will say is that everything is up in the air.”
Rogers says it is not yet known whether the &£5m retail spend will be increased following the new appointment.
The move comes as Littlewoods continues to integrate its retail operations following the merger of Index catalogue stores with the Littlewoods chain in June as part of a plan to save &£50m. In dropping numerous catalogue brands, Littlewoods is expected to make further savings and improve its branding strategy.
This follows the reorganisation of Littlewoods’ operations into just two divisions, pools and retail. In April, the &£8m media buying account for the pools division was centralised into Zenith (MW April 15).