Somerfield seeks ’fresh views’ from Cubitt

Cubitt Consulting has won the financial PR account for troubled supermarket chain Somerfield following a pitch against Ludgate.

Cubitt Consulting has won the financial PR account for troubled

supermarket chain Somerfield following a pitch against Ludgate.



The move by the retailer, which last week announced it was selling 140

Somerfield stores as well as 342 Kwik Save stores, acquired last year

after its merger with the discount chain, has been seen by some analysts

as a survival plan.



Somerfield’s share price has been in freefall since January, with an

estimated pounds 1.8 billion wiped off its market value.



Jill Rawlins, corporate affairs head at Somerfield, said that the

company was going through a difficult transitional period and needed as

’much good PR as it could get’.



She added: ’We need some outsiders’ views who are fresh to the company

and (Cubitt) has a good track record.’



Somerfield reviewed its financial PR strategy earlier this year, (PR

Week, 21 May), and subsequently ended its contract with then incumbent

agency Citigate Dewe Rogeson. The supermarket chain retains Band and

Brown Communications as its consumer PR agency.



Somerfield will now concentrate on being a high street convenience

store, focusing on secondary ’top-up’ shopping, rather than trolley

shopping, for its remaining 800 stores nationwide.



The move also saw chairman Andrew Thomas who steered the company through

flotation, stand down.



He was replaced by Lady Patten. She joined Somerfield as a non-executive

director last year and has been heavily involved in the new

strategy.



Cubitt Consulting managing partner Simon Brocklebank-Fowler, said: ’A

core part of our business is working with high-profile clients who are

in the process of corporate change.’



Somerfield aims to raise pounds 450 million selling the stores, but some

analysts said the company would find it difficult to secure buyers when

other chains such as Sainsbury’s, were restructuring.



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