Focus Wickes ups the ante and looks at media review

Focus Wickes is to review its media planning and buying and is believed to be almost nearly doubling its media spend next year from nearly £9m to £17m.

The store chain is attempting to grab a bigger slice of the growing DIY and gardening retail market.

The review comes as Focus Wickes plans to ratchet up its marketing offensive against rivals such as Homebase and B&Q.

The company is expected to ask six agencies to pitch initially, including the incumbent Mediaedge:cia. It will then whittle that list down to a shortlist of three.

The agency that picks up the business will be responsible for developing the Focus and Wickes brands. The company currently spends £8.7m on advertising, according to Nielsen Media Research. More than half that money is spent on promoting its Focus brand's product range.

Mick Style, managing director of Mediaedge:cia Manchester, said he was unaware of a review. A Focus Wickes spokesman denied that a review was taking place.

"We are using Mediaedge for the foreseeable future," she added.

Focus Wickes uses BDH/ TBWA as its creative agency. Integrated marketing agency Tequila/ Manchester handles the company's below-the-line account.

Earlier this year, the firm hired e-mail marketing agency CheetahMail to develop its online digital strategy. The agency is responsible for developing campaigns targeting customers with the latest offers on its DIY and gardening items. Wickes is also an official partner of the Football League Championship.

Builders' merchant Travis Perkins' £950m acquisition of Wickes was cleared in February, enabling it to move into the consumer DIY market. Wickes is the third largest DIY retailer in the UK, with 256 stores. This July, shares in Travis Perkins fell 8% after the firm warned profit in the first six months would be lower than expected as consumers put off big-ticket spending. Chief executive Geoff Cooper admitted that the company had "moved less volume than expected".

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