Kmart launches $100 million review

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Kmart Corp., Troy, Mich., planning a shift in branding strategy to a tighter customer focus, placed its $100 million account into review. Five-year incumbent Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, will participate in the review, to be conducted in-house. The field will be narrowed to five agencies by late July. Finalists will present to Kmart in mid-August with a decision expected by Sept. 1. The move comes as Kmart named a new chairman-CEO, Charles Conaway, formerly president-chief operating officer of drugstore chain CVS. He succeeded Floyd Hall, 61, whose turnaround effort using Martha Stewart and "Sesame Street'' products as its cornerstones has stalled. Kmart's current share price of $7 is near its 52-week low of $6.88 and down from its 52-week high of $17.06. Advertising had been celebrity focused, with Ms. Stewart's ads supporting her bedding and gardening lines, and branding efforts featuring Rosie O'Donnell recently replaced with mother-daughter singers the Judds. Agencies interested in the review should contact Debbie Musselman, director of agency relations, at (248) 643-3193 or via e-mail at dmusselm@kmart.com before July 7, the company said.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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