Somerfield stages pitch for consumer account

Supermarket chain Somerfield has put its consumer PR agency contract up for grabs as part of an ongoing review of its marketing tactics and an extensive store refit programme.

Clarion Communications, the chain’s three-year incumbent, has made it onto a four-strong shortlist, with an appointment expected shortly.

Somerfield head of press and PR Pete Williams said the review was ‘in light of’ the firm’s ‘new marketing strategy’ but declined to identify the agencies in the running and details of the brief.

The PR review coincides with a refit programme for Somerfield’s 634 stores – around 150 outlets have so far been revamped. Somerfield’s stores are now badged as Somerfield Essentials, Somerfield Market Fresh – or purely Somerfield.

The Market Fresh brand, of which there are just three outlets so far and which target affluent, busy shoppers, and the smaller Essentials outlets, which target shoppers wanting grocery ‘top-ups’, were unveiled last year.

Somerfield is revamping its larger stores as what it calls internally ‘family local’ or ‘progressive mixed’ outlets. The first family local store will open in Derby in December.

Somerfield owns the KwikSave chain, which continues to be promoted by Band & Brown Communications and is not affected by the review.

The review of Clarion’s hold on the Somerfield account follows the loss of its consumer PR remit for PepsiCo’s Quaker brand, with the account having been handed to Freud Communications a fortnight ago (PRWeek, 1 October).

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