Agencies line up as Matalan U-turns on advertising strategy

The discount clothing retail company Matalan is looking for an advertising agency to handle its estimated £10 million account, only a year after turning its back on above-the-line marketing.

Last July, the company ended its relationship with M&C Saatchi and its sister direct marketing agency Lida as part of a strategy to refocus its marketing budget on low-cost advertising and direct mail. Briefs have since been divided between an in-house team and the artwork and photography supplier Capricorn.

However, Matalan is talking to agencies and is believed to have shortlisted five for a pitch. The review is not being conducted through an intermediary and is not expected to affect the company's relationship with its media agency, Feather Brooksbank.

M&C and Lida won the Matalan account in June 2002. The company spent £11.5 million above the line in the following year. However, the strategy changed when Ruth Start became the advertising manager last June.

Nobody at Matalan was available for comment as Campaign went to press.