GUS moots £42m consolidation of Argos and Homebase accounts

Argos Retail Group is looking at the possibility of consolidating the media accounts for its Argos retail brand and the recently acquired Homebase DIY chain, together worth &£42.4m, into one agency.

Both retail chains have called in auditors to assess their media accounts. Homebase uses PHD on its &£21m media buying and planning business and the &£21.4m Argos account is handled by MindShare.

A Homebase spokeswoman says: “As a result of the GUS acquisition, the business is looking at a number of integration options.”

She adds that this includes the possibility of consolidating its media with Argos, but says that no decision has been made to do so at this stage.

The move follows the acquisition of Homebase by GUS, owner of Argos Retail Group, in a &£900m deal in November last year.

At the time a GUS spokesman said that the acquisition would result in combined annual cost savings of at least &£20m over three years.

Combining the media into one agency should help to contribute to those cost savings by delivering greater buying power.

Argos Retail Group also includes the catalogue business ARG Equation, which has brands such as Kays, Marshall Ward and Abound.

It is not known whether auditors have also been called in to assess ARG Equation’s &£10m media account handled by Universal McCann Manchester.

Homebase reviewed its advertising account last year just before it was bought by GUS. It appointed Lowe to work on special projects in addition to incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, which is continuing to use Men Behaving Badly stars Neil Morrisey and Leslie Ash for the Easter campaign.

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Argos is talking to agencies about reducing the number of agencies on its roster that handle a combination of point-of-purchase and other below-the-line activity. It uses up to ten such agencies.

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