May Department Stores Entertains Bids

Retailer Kicks Off Review for $100 Mil.-Plus Media Business
LOS ANGELES–The May Department Stores Co. is seeking to consolidate its estimated $100 million- plus broadcast media planning and buying account, currently handled by several agencies, sources said.
The St. Louis-based retailer, which claims to be the second largest department-store operator in the U.S., is said to be limiting its shopping list to roster shops, but some of its smaller vendors are partnering with larger media agencies to pitch the business.
The review was prompted by the client’s desire to to realize efficiciencies, sources said.
The contenders include lead agency Doner in Southfield, Mich.; The Glennon Co. in St. Louis, which is believed to be partnering with Carat North America; and Los Angeles-based Janik & Associates, said to be in a team-up with CIA Medianetwork.
Between them, Janik and Glennon handle buying for most of the 12 department-store brands operated by May. It is unclear if a fourth roster shop, Stamford, Conn.-based North Castle Partners, is participating in the review.
Print planning and buying duties will continue to be handled in-house, sources said.
They added that creative, handled by Doner and an in-house team, also is unaffected.
May did not comment.
May chains include Lord & Taylor, Foley’s, Strawbridge’s, Famous-Barr, Hecht’s, Robinsons-May, L.S. Ayres, Filene’s, Meier & Frank, The Jones Store, Kaufmann’s and Salt Lake City-based ZCMI, which May acquired in December 1999. In all, the $14 billion company operates more than 420 stores in 36 states and Washington, D.C.
In the four weeks ending Feb. 26, the first month of fiscal 2000, May reported net retail sales of just more than $913 million, up 7.6 percent from the same period in 1999.
Store-for-store sales (stores open during both years) rose 3.6 percent in February 2000 over the comparable period last year, the company said.