DFS moves pounds 30m account into Y&R

DFS Northern Upholstery, the Doncaster-based furniture retailer, is on the point of moving the bulk of its pounds 30 million advertising account into Young & Rubicam.

DFS Northern Upholstery, the Doncaster-based furniture retailer, is

on the point of moving the bulk of its pounds 30 million advertising

account into Young & Rubicam.



The retailer uses a number of advertising agencies, including Grey,

FCA!



and the Publicity Bureau. Media buying, handled by MediaCom, is

understood to be unaffected by the move.



Y&R is thought to have won the business without a pitch. Before

Christmas, it pitched for the pounds 6 million Furniture Village

account. The business was awarded to the incumbent, Osprey, but it is

likely that Y&R then took its findings to DFS.



Y&R’s chief executive, Toby Hoare, would not comment on the

appointment.



A DFS spokeswoman, however, did not deny the move. ’We look at new

agencies all the time. If a new agency comes up, we review it, but I

can’t comment further than that,’ she said.



DFS’s advertising, which has starred Michael Aspel and featured an

’Italian’ called Paolo in the past, has historically been price-led. The

current work features a man and woman extolling the virtues of DFS to

camera.



One industry source said: ’Y&R will have its work cut out because there

isn’t exactly a history of ground-breaking advertising for the

brand.’



The company last called a pitch - between Grey and the Leith Agency - in

1996 as part of plans to expand in the South of England, but the review

was called off at the last minute. Since then, it has more than trebled

its adspend.



The furniture retail market has taken a hit over the past year. DFS

reported a 12 per cent fall in profits at the end of 1998, its first

decline for 28 years. The fall was attributed to the cost of driving

sales through expansion, price-cutting and advertising. The rival

retailer, Courts, also saw a 37 per cent drop in first-half pre-tax

profits in 1998.



Courts also reviewed its advertising arrangements last year, eventually

handing its account to Lowe Howard-Spink and increasing adspend from

pounds 13 million to a projected pounds 20 million.



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