The John Lewis Group is reviewing media for its £9 million Waitrose account.
It is also preparing a media pitch for its flagship £15.5 million John Lewis department store chain business.
The two reviews will be handled separately and the John Lewis Group is not looking to consolidate its media planning and buying account into a single agency.
The £9 million Waitrose account is held by Brand Connection. It is believed to be reviewing as part of a statutory six-year deal. However, agency sources said the review is linked to the planned merger between Brand Connection and its Interpublic sister agency, Initiative.
A Waitrose spokeswoman confirmed the review and said: "We are expecting to announce a new media agency in mid-May."
Media for John Lewis is held by the creative agency Burkitt DDB. Burkitt DDB is currently defending its £13 million John Lewis creative account, which it has held for ten years. If the agency retains the account, it will also hold on to the media business.
However, a spokesman for John Lewis confirmed that if Burkitt DDB lost the creative account, a media review would kick off.
The retailer called the creative review at the start of this month. It is being handled by the John Lewis marketing director, Andrew Woodward, through the AAR. Pitches are expected in May.
Earlier this month, Clark McKay & Walpole was appointed to handle a multimillion-pound launch by John Lewis' financial services division. The agency, which already works on the John Lewis partnership card, won the business following a pitch against Burkitt DDB and WWAV Rapp Collins, the direct marketing agency Pepper and Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy's direct marketing agency, Elvis.
MCBD handles the above-the-line account for Waitrose. It has recently created a TV campaign that extols the benefits of the group's co- operative structure.