Ethel Austin meets shops over ad brief

Ethel Austin, the budget high-street fashion retailer, is talking to agencies about its £2 million advertising account.

The winning agency will be briefed to create a through-the-line campaign that will refresh the brand and establish it in southern parts of the UK. The retailer is looking to draw up a shortlist of four agencies and will hold initial meetings at the end of next week.

Ethel Austin, which is a competitor to Primark, has more than 300 stores nationwide. The majority are in the north of England, but the business is investing millions of pounds into expanding into the southern market on the back of the recent boom in low-cost high-street fashion.

Ethel Austin, which was acquired by ABN AMRO Capital for £122 million in 2004, is in the process of renovating its stores; 160 have already been refurbished, with the rest set to be completed within the next two years.

The winning agency will also be asked to relay this to customers by creating an in-store campaign.