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Mediaedge:cia scoops £10m Next account

LONDON - High street clothes retailer Next has awarded its £10m media account to Mediaedge:cia following a competitive pitch.

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The high street retailer currently spends £6m, according to Nielsen Media Research, but it is believed the company will now commit to increasing its budget to £10m in an attempt to revive its ailing brand.

MediaVest Manchester was informed of the decision yesterday afternoon. It will lose the bulk of the business but retains the Next Directory account, which is reported to be worth around £2m in billings.

Andy Jeal, managing partner at MediaVest Manchester, said: "Obviously, it's sad to lose an account that we've worked so hard delivering on and much more over a sustained period of time. But this agency will continue to move forward."

Next called a review of its media planning and buying business earlier this month. The decision to review the account has been prompted by a change in the retailer's marketing strategy as it moves away from direct response and online activity towards traditional above-the-line advertising in an attempt to compete with a resurgent Marks & Spencer, along with other high street retailers including Gap and Uniglo.

The move follows the recent promotion of Christine Gerrard, its former head of PR, to retail marketing director.

Its retail division, which includes more than 460 stores in the UK and Ireland, had a forgettable 2006, with profits down on the back of a 7.2% decline in sales.

According to Nielsen Media Research, in the 12 months to the March 31, Next spent almost £6m on its media, with press (£2.5m) and direct response (£1m) as the biggest spending categories.

A spokeswoman for Next confirmed that the media account had been awarded to Mediaedge:cia.

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