Focus kicks off £10m ad review

DIY and gardening retailer expected to hold talks with at least 15 agencies before drawing up shortlist.

Focus, the DIY retailer, has called a pitch for its £10 million advertising account.

The review process, which is being handled by, will begin next month. Focus plans to see at least 15 agencies before drawing up a shortlist of eight.

The process is in the very early stages and a specific brief has yet to be released to agencies. A result is expected in May.

Focus does not have a retained advertising agency, but uses Target Direct Marketing to handle above- and below-the-line communications.

Media duties, which are handled by Mediaedge:cia Manchester, are not affected by the review.

In July 2007, Focus was sold to Cerberus for £1. The private equity company then paid off the retailer's £174 million debt.

Cerberus hired the retail veterans Bill Grimsey and Bill Hoskins to oversee the turnaround. Last October, the company announced plans to sell 27 of its stores to The Home Retail Group, which owns Homebase and Argos, for £40 million in cash.

The properties were expected to be transferred by 31 December as part of a planned £30 million expansion of the Homebase chain. However, the deal hit a snag when the Office of Fair Trading announced that it would be scrutinising the acquisition over possible competition issues.

Focus is the third DIY chain, after Homebase and Wickes, to review its advertising arrangements this year.