Tesco reviews LLM brief a year after Lobbygate

Supermarket giant Tesco is reviewing its public affairs account, currently held by Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn.

Supermarket giant Tesco is reviewing its public affairs account,

currently held by Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn.



The move comes just a few weeks before the Government formally announces

its plans to ’name and shame’ expensive retailers and after months of

speculation that the review was pending following LLM’s involvement in

last summer’s ’lobbygate’ scandal.



Tesco has used LLM since November 1997. The account was previously held

by Lowe Bell Political - now Bell Pottinger Public Affairs - where LLM

co-founders Neal Lawson and Ben Lucas worked prior to setting up their

own agency.



The review is in its early stages and Tesco has written to Politics

International, APCO UK, Burson-Marsteller and LLM for written proposals.

The company is in talks with a further two agencies for pitches which

are expected to be heard in the next month.



The pitch process is being co-ordinated by public affairs manager

Katherine Edwards, who is responsible for Tesco’s UK parliamentary

relations.



The brief is wide-ranging, covering monitoring and strategic advice on

issues including the ongoing Competition Commission inquiry into

competition in the supermarket sector.



The Government’s consumer white paper, set to be published later this

month, also concerns Tesco. The paper is expected to tighten consumer

protection laws and to recommend ’name and shame’ lists highlighting the

prices charged for goods in the UK compared with other countries.



Public affairs agencies working for Tesco rivals, including Brunswick,

which handles Safeway’s government relations, Fishburn Hedges, which

works for Sainsbury, and Bell Pottinger, which is Asda’s agency, are

unable to benefit from the review due to client conflict.



Tesco recently reviewed its Scottish public affairs and PR, handing PR

back to its incumbent adviser Shandwick and awarding public affairs -

previously part of Shandwick’s brief - to GPC Scotland.



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