Somerfield restructure to trigger Kwik Save PR hires

Supermarket Kwik Save is on the verge of a recruitment and agency hiring spree following a restructuring of the Somerfield Group.

Kwik Save is now likely to establish its first PR team since the supermarkets merged in February 1998.

Somerfield Group head of PR Pete Williams said there had been 'a fairly turbulent couple of weeks' after announcing plans to set Somerfield stores apart as a separate business unit from Somerfield plc, in a similar fashion to the business model used successfully in the Kwik Save stores.

As part of the restructure, the Somerfield Group marketing function, including PR, is being transferred to the two business units.

Williams, whose department currently advises Kwik Save on communications issues, will be meeting with Kwik Save MD Graham Maguire within weeks to decide on PR strategy for the Kwik Save brand.

One option is to establish an in-house resource or to hire an external PR agency, but Williams stressed that no concrete plans have yet been put in place.

The overhaul has had the effect of delaying a decision on the search for an agency for the Somerfield side of the business (PRWeek, 23 November 2001).

Williams hinted that 'one or two' agencies would be approached in the coming weeks after impressing during the pitch process.

In October, the supermarket ended its association with six-year retained agency Band & Brown to take the bulk of its PR work in-house (PRWeek, 5 October 2001).

However, two months later it set out to recruit an agency, formally pitching in mid-January.

The Somerfield Group, which is the UK's fifth largest supermarket firm, recorded £5.6m pre-tax profits in the year to November 2001.

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