ZPR wins pitch to handle Matalan comms offensive

Discount clothing and homewares retailer Matalan is staging a PR offensive spanning corporate, consumer and internal communications.

The group has hired ZPR to lead the programme following a group-wide comms review, sparked off by the appointment of former Asda CEO Paul Mason as chief executive, and subsequent hire of marketing director Euan Sutherland.

The marcoms overhaul, led by Sutherland, also saw the appointment in May of M&C Saatchi to its £30m through-the-line ad account.

Harrogate-based ZPR takes on the brief following a pitch believed to have involved three agencies.

Stephanie Churchill PR previously handled product work prior to the review.

Financial incumbent Weber Shandwick Square Mile is not affected by the changes.

ZPR founder Zaria Pinchbeck - also formerly at Asda, as PR head - said: 'Our brief is to improve the product coverage to focus on its brands.

Nobody knows Matalan owns Lee Cooper, Wolsey and Falmer, so it is largely about communicating where all the brands fit into Matalan.'

The brief also involves internal comms and PR surrounding Matalan's plans to open 20 more stores by the end of the year, a programme Pinchbeck described as 'aggressive'.

The four-strong Matalan team reports to Sutherland.

Matalan currently has around 145 stores in the UK and aims to increase this to 200 by the end of 2005.

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