MACY'S STARTS HUNT FOR NEW HISPANIC AGENCY

Issues RFP; Expected to Make Selection by April

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Federated Department Stores' Macy's has sent out a request for proposals seeking a new Hispanic agency for national efforts, according to executives close to the review.
Macy's expects to name a new Hispanic ad agency by April.
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Peter Sachse, Federated's chief marketing officer, confirmed the review, but would not disclose the size of the proposed account.

"We certainly believe -- we know -- that this is a large part of our business," he said.

Initial presentations
Macy's will hear initial presentations from agencies next week before picking four agencies to make final presentations, an agency executive said.

The review is being handled in-house by Brian Weart, Macy's West director of planning and marketing. Mr. Sachse said the company hopes to have a decision no later than April.

Independent Enlace Communications, Los Angeles, is the Hispanic advertising agency for Macy's West, the unit which includes Macy's stores in six Western states, plus Hawaii and Guam. Enlace CEO Rochelle Newman-Carrasco said her agency will not participate in the review.

"We had a productive relationship for over nine years," she said.

Improving the advertising
Macy's has been ratcheting up its overall advertising as part of efforts to reinvent the 146-year-old department store. Efforts include improving the product assortment and the shopping environment, simplifying pricing and developing distinctive marketing.

Macy's broke its first branding campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe, New York, in 2003. The campaign, which carried the tagline "Way to shop," moved away from previous efforts that had been more promotionally minded and added new media for the retailer, such as magazine advertising.

The brand focus is also part of a move by Federated to rebrand its stable of regional retail chains, which include Rich's, Lazarus and The Bon Marche, with the Macy's name. The last of the regional chains, Florida's Burdine's, made the switch in early 2004.

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Alice Z. Cuneo contributed to this report.
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