Levitz Shops for a New Agency

Looking to rebuild its image as it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year, Levitz Furniture has launched an agency search.
The business has been with Bozell Retail in New York for nearly two years; media chores are handled by TN Media. Levitz Furniture Corp.–which operates the Levitz, Homemakers Furniture and John M. Smyths Homemakers chains –spent $52 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. About $48 million of that total was for the flagship Levitz stores. When Bozell won the account, it was valued at roughly $25 million.
Levitz vice president of advertising and sales promotion Betsi O’Neill confirmed the review, saying its contract with Bozell was almost up. “We wanted to see what else we had to choose from,” she said.
Bozell will not participate, sources said, due to “creative and financial differences” with the retailer The agency declined comment.
Shops have until March 25 to decide whether to take part. O’Neill will then sift through responses and visit a select number of shops in April. From there, the client will trim to no more than four finalists, who will make their case at Levitz headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
A decision is set for May.
Finalists may pitch the media portion, O’Neill said, but the client will reserve its right to keep that task separate. In a letter to shops, Levitz said it seeks “strategic planning to assist with a repositioning of the company and the relaunch of a mature retail brand.”
Levitz has 63 stores in 13 states. Late last year, Edward Grund was elevated to chairman and chief executive officer from president, store operations. The company has been in Chapter 11 since 1997. –with Hank Kim