Supermarket rivals in comms reshuffle

Top supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons are overhauling their corporate PR and public affairs arrangements.

Waitrose: supermarket shopping chain
Waitrose: supermarket shopping chain

Waitrose has shortlisted five agencies to handle corporate PR, with pitches taking place over the next six weeks. The John Lewis-owned chain does not currently use a corporate agency. It employs The SPA Way for consumer and Luther Pendragon for public affairs.

Meanwhile, Morrisons has drafted in Bell Pottinger age­ncy Good Relations on a ret­ained public affairs brief.

Good Relations snatched the account from incumbent Open Road after a three-way pitch. Portland PR also pitched for the work. Lexis is Morris­ons’ ret­ained consumer agency.

Good Relations CEO Teresa-Anne Dunleavy said: ‘Morrisons is outperforming its sector and has a great story to tell.’

Last month Morrisons announced like-for-like sales up 8.2 per cent in the six weeks to 4 January, and that it was to create 5,000 new positions by the end of 2009.

Waitrose’s total sales to 3 January were up 7.5 per cent, and the annual 'How Britain Shops' survey has shown that Waitrose increased customer share of total visitors by 7 per cent in 2008.

Waitrose suffered a corporate setback this week when an LGA study found it had the heaviest packaging, despite priding ­itself on its green credentials.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price has also att­acked the aggressive price-cutting of the chain’s rivals. He blamed the Government for encouraging a trend for cheap food.

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