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Tandy's Computer City Screens Retail Marketing Capabilities Of Publicis/Bloom, The Lord Group

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Computer City, which is about a year away from gaining its independence from Tandy Corp., is discussing undisclosed marketing chores with Publicis/Bloom here, The Lord Group in Fort Worth, Texas, and possibly other agencies.
Whether the evaluation will lead to project work or a full-service agency relationship is uncertain. The client's annual advertising spending has ranged from $20 million to $40 million since 1993, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Through last October, 1997 ad expenditures reached $22 million.
The review is reportedly being led by Computer City vice president of marketing Joel Carter. Carter did not return calls at press time, and company officials declined comment.
It was not known whether former Wal-Mart and Blockbuster Entertainment executive John McDowell, named last week as senior vice president of merchandising and marketing at Computer City, would be involved in the process.
Officials at the agencies involved could not be reached or would not comment on the review.
Publicis/Bloom seemingly has the closest ties to Computer City, having a previous relationship with Carter when he was marketing vice president at Incredible Universe. That Tandy superstore chain was sold and converted into Fry's Electronics outlets last year.
The Lord Group (formerly Lord, Dentsu & Partners) in New York and Fort Worth served Tandy's Radio Shack since 1993 before that advertising account went in-house in December.
Computer City's spinoff was announced last July, with a timetable aiming for complete independence by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 1999, according to the company's media relations manager, Mieke Henderson. In December, Computer City set up a $150 million line of credit for working capital and to repay Tandy for previously advanced funds.
The Fort Worth-based chain currently operates 96 stores.