The British Retail Consortium has ended the search for its first public affairs firm by appointing Edelman PR Worldwide.
Edelman's PA arm bagged the business after a four-way pitch against DLA Upstream, Chelgate and Weber Shandwick Worldwide (PRWeek, 5 January).
It is now tasked with a combined political monitoring and strategic advice brief for the consortium. The brief was awarded by parliamentary affairs director Charles Anglin.
The agency is using the account to launch its 'retail public affairs' offering. Edelman feels it is in a position to address major issues in the retail sector through PR. It hopes to exploit experts such as Nigel Whittaker, the agency's UK chairman and practice chair. He is a former chairman of B&Q and board director at retail giant Kingfisher.
Bernard Hughes will head the practice on a day-to-day basis as well as overseeing the BRC account team composed from among Edelman's corporate, consumer and technology units. Hughes joined the agency from Tesco last year where he had spent ten years as head of government relations, building up the public affairs unit from scratch.
For Hughes the win represents a return to his roots. His first job in public affairs was as press and parliamentary executive at the BRC for six years from 1985.
Hughes said: 'The role of the new unit will be to look at the retail industry's agenda in a second Labour term. There is a worldwide shift to leanness and value for money and that needs to be demonstrated through public relations.'