Carat wins £23m Shop Direct direct-response business

Carat has won the £23m direct-response media planning and buying account for BarclayÂbrothers-ownedÂhome shopping company Shop Direct.

Carat has won the £23m direct-response media planning and buying account for BarclayÂbrothers-ownedÂhome shopping company Shop Direct.

Shop Direct owns brands such as Marshall Ward, Abound, Kays GU, Choice and Additions Direct (the catalogue formerly known as Argos Additions, which is now distributed through Boots).

Carat pitched against three agencies, thought to include incumbent Universal McCann Manchester. The brief will focus predominantly on press activity, both inserts and off-the-page.

Universal McCann is understood to have been retained to work on the Big Book Occasion.

Last year, Shop Direct spent £23.4m on media, including £11m on press and £11.6m on direct mail, according to figures from MMS.

Manchester-based Shop Direct was formerly part of GUS, and known as ARG Equation. It changed its name after being bought by the Barclays through their company, March. The Competition Commission finally cleared the deal in January after an investigation.

Analysts had been expecting the commission to block the deal on grounds of unfair competition, as the brothers already had a catalogue business which, together with Shop Direct, gives them 28 per cent of the home shopping market and 73 per cent of the agency mail-order market.

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