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Burlington Coat Factory Expands Review

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NEW YORK Burlington Coat Factory, which two weeks ago confirmed a review of media duties on its ad account, has expanded its review to include creative chores.

The retailer spent nearly $75 million in a major measured media in 2006 and almost $40 million in the first 10 months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

"We have decided that it makes most sense for us to seek the full suite of resources," said Garry Graham, executive vice president of marketing, in a statement. "However, this does not diminish the great importance we will be placing upon the media portion of the review.

The media incumbent, Interpublic Group's Initiative in New York, has accepted an invitation to defend. Creative duties are in-house.

Burlington is expected to issue an RFP in the next two weeks to as many as 12 agencies. Based on responses, the Burlington, N.J.-based client will cut to a shorter list of shops to visit -- most likely around six -- before ultimately selecting a handful of finalists to pitch the business. A decision is expected by early in the second quarter.

The New York office of search consultancy Ark Advisors is managing the process.

Besides coats, Burlington sells apparel, shoes and accessories at some 395 stores in 44 states.

For years, Sheer Advertising in South Orange, N.J., handled creative duties for the client, but that shop closed toward the end of 2007, resulting in those duties going in-house.

Bain Capital Partners acquired Burlington in 2006, taking the company private in a deal valued at $2.1 billion.

In December, Burlington reported net sales of $946.6 million for its fiscal second quarter, which ended Dec. 1. That figure was down nearly 4 percent  from the like period the year before. Burlington attributed the decline in a statement to "unusually warm weather during most of the quarter and weak consumer demand."