Fashion Bug Shopping

Charming Shoppes Inc. is contacting agencies in order to formulate a new advertising and marketing plan for its Fashion Bug chain, which includes more than 1,200 women’s apparel stores across the country.
Donna Galpin, marketing director for Charming Shoppes, said the company is exploring its options but would not characterize the move as an agency search. Fashion Bug currently has no lead agency and handles its creative requirements in-house, Galpin said.
Galpin added that Charming Shoppes has no plans to change its media buying agency, The Media Edge in New York.
Charming Shoppes recently hired Carmen Monaco as its new vice president of marketing. Sources said Monaco is heading the efforts to formulate a marketing plan for the company. Monaco was unavailable for comment at press time.
The Bensalem, Pa.-based company spent $3 million on advertising during the first six months of 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The client spent more than $7 million in 1996.
The struggling operation registered eight consecutive months of declining sales from October 1994 to May 1995, prompting then-chairman David Wachs to resign. The company has improved financially in recent months: For the six months ended Aug. 2, 1997, Charming Shoppes posted a net income of $5 million, compared to a net loss of $6 million the prior year.
The company’s advertising assignment has been shifted around in recent years. In 1994, following a contest for what was then a $10 million account, Grace & Rothschild here was hired to craft a new image for the stores, which primarily sells discount clothes for teenagers. The relationship between G&R and Charming Shoppes soured in April 1995. The company held discussions with various shops before bringing the business in-house.