RETAILER CIRCUIT CITY OPENS REVIEW FOR AD ACCOUNT

Seeks 'New Ideas'; Incumbent FCB Invited to Defend

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Circuit City Stores is contacting agencies regarding its general advertising account, a company spokesman said. The electronics retailer, locked in a tight battle with rival Best Buy, is sending out requests for proposals to agencies this week.

Seeking 'new ideas'
The spokesman said Circuit City is seeking

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"new ideas and new thinking," but added that the incumbent agency, Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, has been invited to defend the account.

FCB, an Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, declined to comment.

Hasan & Co., Raleigh, N.C. is conducting the review.

The Richmond, Va.-based retailer spent $345 million in measured media during the fiscal year, which ends Feb. 29, but the account in review has estimated billings of $80 million to $100 million.

The retailer is in the middle of a sales slump, which has forced it to close 19 superstores.

Going outside FCB
Circuit City, which has repeatedly stated it was "happy" with FCB, has chipped away at the agency's assignments. Last month, the retailer hired independent Sharpe Advertising, New York, to handle online advertising, replacing FCBi, FCB's interactive unit; earlier this month, it hired Publicis Groupe's Bromley Communications as its first Hispanic agency to work on a $15 million account.

Circuit City also opened reviews for a promotions agency and a public relations agency this month.

The review is expected to wrap up by summer, the Circuit City spokesman said.

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