Giant Eagle Goes Into Play

NEW YORK Regional supermarket and convenience store chain Giant Eagle is reviewing creative and media planning duties on its ad account, sources said.

The Pittsburgh-based company spent more than $15 million in major measured media last year and nearly $20 million in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The 2007 figure does not include online spending.

The incumbent is independent The Richards Group in Dallas, which has handled creative and media planning duties since 2001. Richards is not defending, the agency said.

Media buying duties, at RJW Media in Pittsburgh, are not in play, said sources.

Giant Eagle is said to be using search consultancy Ark Advisors in New York to manage the process. Ark declined to comment and referred calls to the client, which could not immediately be reached. Sources said, however, that Ark had started contacting agencies about the business.

Giant Eagle has some 223 supermarkets and 130 fuel and convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, according to gianteagle.com. Almost a third of the supermarkets (65) are independently owned and operated. The private company’s annual sales exceed $7.1 billion.