MFI, the furniture chain, is understood to be close to moving its £29m media business into Walker Media without a pitch. The account is currently with ZenithOptimedia.
It is also understood that the chain has moved its advertising account from Publicis, which has held the account for 17 years, into M&C Saatchi, also without a pitch.
The changes coincide with a restructuring of the retailer’s marketing team. Paul Jackson, the marketing director, has now left and has been replaced by Michael Greenhalgh, a former marketing director at kitchen retailer Magnet Group.
The chain was acquired by investment group Merchant Equity Partner (MEP) a month ago.
It is thought that the agency changes have been overseen by David Hamid, an operating partner of MEP. Hamid has worked closely with both M&C and Walker in previous roles. He is a former board director at Dixons Stores Group, which uses both agencies, and appointed them both without a pitch when he was chief executive of Halfords (MW March 25, 2004).
MEP agreed to buy the retailer for a nominal £1 in September, and the deal was approved by MFI’s shareholders last month.
ZenithOptimedia says that it is unaware of any changes and claims that it is currently booking a campaign for the retailer which will run from Christmas and last until February.
Publicis and Walker Media declined to comment and M&C and MFI were unavailable as Marketing Week went to press.