French Connection strays from Beattie

French Connection is in talks with Yellow Door, a specialist retail ad agency, about a brief for an upcoming campaign.

The talks signal the first time the fashion retailer has stepped outside of the long-standing relationship between its chairman, Stephen Marks, and Trevor Beattie, the Beattie McGuinness Bungay founder.

The decision is understood to be linked to poor ongoing sales performance, which saw French Connection's pre-tax profits fall by 53 per cent to £15.7 million in 2005. The sales slump continued into 2006 despite a high-profile ad campaign, created by BMB, which featured a fight between two women that ended in a kiss.

Beattie has worked with Marks since 1997. By 2003, profits reached £19.1 million, with Beattie's campaigns seen as instrumental to this growth.

A spokeswoman for French Connection said: "We have been talking to Yellow Door, as Stephen has known Mary Portas (the creative director) for many years and values her opinions."

Comment, page 48.

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