Sears Holdings Reviews Media Agencies

Incumbent MPG Understood to Be Participating

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Sears Holdings is reviewing its media business, Ad Age has learned.

The Ad Age DataCenter places Sears Holdings among the top 20 ad spenders in the U.S. The company spent $1.69 billion on U.S. advertising in 2011. Of that amount, it spent $677 million on measured media.

"As a matter of good business, Sears Holdings is reviewing and benchmarking other companies in the media space," a spokesman said.

Havas' MPG, the incumbent on the Sears and Kmart brands, has been working with the company since 2007. It's understood that the agency is participating in the review. The agency declined to comment.

During the past couple of years, there has been a lot of turnover in the lead marketing role at both Sears and Kmart. This review comes on the heels of the departure of David Friedman, senior VP-president of Sears Holdings' marketing business unit. He left the company in January. Imran Jooma, senior VP-president eCommerce at Sears Holdings, was tapped to oversee the marketing business unit late last year.

Last May, Sears Holdings tapped McGarryBowen as its lead creative agency on the Sears brand. Y&R works on the Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard brands, as well as some other Sears business units.

Sears Holdings has been struggling for years. In the most recent quarter, revenue fell $270 million to $9.3 billion. Same-store sales fell 1.3%, including a 1% drop at domestic Sears stores and a 1.6% drop at Kmart. This drop is in line with a 6.5% decline in the company's U.S. ad spend in 2011, compared with its spending in 2010, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

Sears Holdings comprises the Sears Roebuck & Co., Kmart and Lands' End business units. Lands' End, which brought on Targetcast as its media agency in May, is not part of the media review.

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