Target Consolidates Media Business at GroupM After 46-Year Relationship With Haworth

But shift could open up an agency opportunity with Walmart

Target announced today it is consolidating its media planning and buying business at GroupM, ending the retail giant's decades-long relationship with Haworth Marketing + Media.

Target, which spent over $600 million on measured media in 2014, has worked with Haworth since 1970, when it was one of the Minneapolis agency's founding clients. In 2014, WPP bought a 49 percent stake in Haworth, and GroupM began working with Target a year later.

The shift comes amid speculation Walmart is eyeing Haworth to handle its $900 million U.S. media account. Late last year Walmart hired former retail exec Michael Francis as a consultant. Francis is a Target marketing vet who has worked with Haworth during most of his career.

In February, Walmart unexpectedly pulled its North American media business from Mediavest without disclosing details about future handling of the account. Walmart has not responded to Adweek inquiries for comment.

Over a three-month transition, the WPP media network will assemble a Target-focused team of GroupM resources spanning digital media, global measurement, innovation and strategy. The team will be based at GroupM in New York with additional support from the agency's offices in San Francisco and Minneapolis.