NEW YORK Macy's, a unit of Federated Department Stores, is considering five contenders in the review for its estimated $200 million national media account, according to one of the consultancies overseeing the process.
Pursuing the business are: Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia and Starcom; Aegis Group's Carat; Havas' Media Planning Group; and Interpublic Group's Initiative, per sources.
A sixth agency, Omnicom Group's OMD, was invited to pitch but declined due to a conflict (J.C. Penney), sources said.
Though Macy's spent $475 million on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, much of the client's media spending will continue to be handled in-house, and the work in play is worth $200 million, said sources.
Sources said a cut to three finalists is expected by the end of this week, with a decision in late February or early March and a new contract taking effect by the end of the first quarter.
The contending agencies declined comment or referred calls to the client.
The review is being managed by Joanne Davis Consulting, which is being assisted by media Worldwide Media, headed by Jane Twyon. Both consultancies are based in New York.
Davis confirmed the review, but declined further comment and would not disclose details.
Previously, Macy's had handled almost its entire media planning and buying internally.
Last year, however, Federated acquired May department stores, and is converting several of that company's brands—including May, Filene's and Marshall Fields—to Macy's department stores. As a result, the number of Macy's outlets will almost double from 400 (at the time of the May acquisition) to more than 700 by September 2006, sources said.
Following its $475 million ad outlay in 2004, Macy's spent $365 million through the first 10 months of 2005, per Nielsen. The May-owned stores spent $290 million on ads in 2004 and $195 million through October 2005, per Nielsen.