Debenhams is reviewing its £14m advertising account, held by WCRS.
Marketing Week was first to tip the review in January (MW January 12) after the department store was bought for £1.7bn last year by a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners and Texas Pacific Group.
At the time of the acquisition, Rob Templeman, who replaced Belinda Earl as chief executive, confirmed he was reviewing all supplier contracts. It is not known whether the advertising review, which is being conducted through Agency Assessments, will be extended to media. Carat holds the media business. The ad review comes at a time when competition between department stores and variety retailers is hotting up. Marks & Spencer, Bhs and John Lewis are launching campaigns focusing on their clothing. It also follows the departure of communications director Hugh Bradley this summer, leaving head of marketing Alison Jones in charge of marketing. Jones, who reports to Templeman, is expected to oversee the review.
WCRS has held the account since 1998 and it is not known whether the agency, which has created this year’s Christmas campaign, will be invited to repitch for the business.
Templeman reviewed Debenhams’ membership of the Nectar loyalty scheme earlier this year and decided to stay with the scheme, despite the store having its own loyalty scheme that enables holders of its credit card to collect Debenhams reward points.