Asda and John Lewis in final talks with agencies

Asda and the John Lewis group are both on the verge of handing out major retainers for their public affairs businesses.

Wal-Mart-owned Asda has spoken to six agencies over the past two weeks since PRWeek revealed the account was up for grabs (PRWeek, 15 February).

Asda is now poised to make a final decision about whether to stick with incumbent agency Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. It is believed that Asda's public affairs chiefs have heard pitches from Bell Pottinger; FD-LLM; Hanover; Lansons; Quintus and The Ledbury Group.

FD-LLM decided not to proceed due to a client conflict.

As PRWeek went to press there was mounting speculation that The Ledbury Group, recently set up by former Weber Shandwick director Malcolm Gooderham, had been selected. Gooderham did not comment.

Meanwhile a further four agencies are in the running for the John Lewis account.

Five-year incumbent Cavendish Communications was recently put on alert as the privately owned retailer considers hiring a new agency to help push through ambitious growth plans (PRWeek, 29 February).

It is understood that John Lewis has narrowed the field down to four agencies, all of which pitched last week. They are: Cavendish Communications; Luther Pendragon; Insight Public Affairs and Mandate Communications (formerly AS Biss).

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