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Pier 1 Begins Search

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Home furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports has begun a search for an agency to handle its $45 million account, sources said.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, through consultant Jones-Lundin Associates in Chicago, has sent out requests for proposals to a number of agencies in the Midwest and South, sources said.
The questionniare asks shops to detail their high-end retail experience and gives a deadline of Oct. 13 for responses.
Phil Schneider, Pier 1's senior vice president of marketing, denied the company has sent out any questionnaires, and indicated executives are still considering a review.
"We haven't made any decision on [holding] an agency review," he said. "We are considering a number of relationships, such as marketing consultation."
The chain, which sells furniture and accessories imported from more than 60 countries, currently handles its creative work in-house. Media buying is at Advanswers Media/Programming in St. Louis. Media may be part of the review, sources said.
In March, Pier 1 launched a campaign developed in-house and anchored around the slogan, "So many reasons to love Pier 1." It spent $45 million on advertising in 1998, and $31 million through the first six months of 1999, per Competitive Media Reporting.
The company far outspends its smaller category competitors, according to CMR figures. Among those rivals are Williams-Sonoma of in San Francisco, which spent $6.5 million in 1998; Euromarket Designs in Northbrook, Ill., which put about $4 million behind its Crate & Barrel stores; and Bed, Bath & Beyond in Union, N.J., which also spent about $4 million last year.