Burlington Trims Field in $60 Mil. Pitch

NEW YORK Six agency teams have advanced to the visitation round of Burlington Coat Factory’s creative and media review, said Ark Advisors, the consultancy managing the process.

Ark identified the creative shops as MDC Partners’ Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York, Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, Havas’ Euro RSCG in Chicago and independents Cramer-Krasselt, Gardner Nelson + Partners and ML Rogers, all in New York.

Each shop is teaming with a media agency. Cliff Freeman, for example, is partnering with Interpublic Group’s Initiative here, the media incumbent. Creative duties are in-house.

Client executives will visit the agencies next week and then cut to three finalists, according to Ken Robinson, a principal at Ark in New York. Final presentations are slated for late April.

The semifinalists emerged from field of about a dozen agencies that submitted RFPs to the Burlington, N.J.-based client. The company’s major media spending totaled $60 million last year and nearly $75 million in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

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.