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Sears shortlists five agencies for $740m media duties

NEW YORK - The battle for the $740m (£370m) Sears retail media account in the US is understood to be down to five competitors.

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The agencies in contention for the account are Aegis-owned agency Carat, Havas Group agency Media Planning Group, independent agency Horizon Media and the incumbents, WPP shops MindShare and MEC Interaction.

Sears is believed to have dropped Zenith Media and PHD Group from contention.

The review includes media duties for retailers Sears Roebuck & Co and Kmart, both of which are owned by Sears Holdings. The account includes online as well as traditional above the line media duties.

Sears' creative agencies are unaffected by the media review. WPP's Y&R, Chicago, is Sears' creative agency, while Grey handles creative duties for Kmart.

The retailer plans to name the winning agency in the second quarter of this year.

When calling the review of its media arrangements the company said: "Sears Holdings continues to look for ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of our business."

Last week Kmart awarded its $200m (£100m) US advertising and CRM account, without a pitch, to Interpublic Group's DraftFCB; providing the agency with some retail consolation after it won and quickly lost Wal-Mart's account, at the beginning of the year.

Wal-Mart took the account away from the agency after it parted company with its chief marketing executive Julie Roehm, accusing her of breaking its code of ethics during the pitch process.

The Kmart account includes developing TV spots, print and radio advertising, customer analysis and strategy, data analysis, customer relationship marketing and branding work for the Sears-owned retailer.

DraftFCB replaces WPP Group's Grey on the US-based retail account. Grey had held the business since August 2003.

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