Dillard’s Moves Buying Duties

Dillard’s has shifted about $60-80 million in media buying to Southwest Media, a division of Square One.

The Dallas-based agency picked up the business early this month following a review, which included an undisclosed number of Dallas and Houston agencies, Dillard’s representative Julie Bull confirmed.

“We’re very excited about working with Square One,” Bull said. “We certainly feel that they’re a talented, success-oriented company and we know they will bring great value to Dillard’s.”

Bull declined to elaborate on the scope of the assignment with Southwest Media. The Little Rock, Ark.-based department store chain spends about $200 million annually on advertising, according to CMR.

Sources said Southwest Media, headed by Square One partner and media director Bob Nichol, will primarily perform buying duties for broadcast television and radio projects. Dillard’s handles its print advertising and catalog work in-house. The client also spends heavily on joint advertising efforts with its brand name suppliers.

Southwest Media’s parent company, Square One, is also said to be holding talks with the retailerabout a first-time national branding campaign.

The store’s seasonal creative assignments will likely continue to be awarded on a project basis, industry sources said. Frierson Mee + Partners in New York launched a 13-ad print campaign for Dillard’s exclusive menswear line, Daniel Cremieux, this past spring.

In Little Rock, Combs & Co., which had handled media buying and some broadcast creative, is reportedly laying off personnel in its media department following the client’s move. Officials at Combs did not return calls seeking comment last week.

The win vaults Square One into the No. 4 position in the Southwest region for billings. The agency entered the top 10 ranks last year with billings of $130 million and revenue of $13 million.