Burlington Coat's Creative Goes to Cramer-Krasselt

Media Planning and Buying Will Stay With Initiative

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Retail chain Burlington Coat Factory has wrapped up a review of its $70 million account, awarding creative duties to independent Cramer-Krasselt, New York, and keeping media planning and buying with the incumbent, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative.

According to a release from Burlington, Initiative will also play a bigger role in strategic brand planning and digital following the review, which was managed by search consultancy Ark Advisors.

A 'time of challenge'
"Cramer-Krasselt and Initiative both offer best-in-class thinking and innovative strategic direction that dovetail with the marketing direction Burlington will need to follow during this time of challenge and opportunity," Garry Graham, the retailer's exec VP-marketing, said in a statement.

Creative for the retailer had been handled in-house after its longtime agency of record, South Orange, N.J.-based Scheer Advertising Group, closed its doors in winter 2007.

C-K and Initiative pitched the account separately (with C-K pitching both media and creative), competing against three teams in the final round of the review: Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group with MediaVest; independent ML Rogers with Horizon; and independent Gardner Nelson & Partners with TargetCast.

Burlington Coat Factory sells coats, outerwear and home goods in almost 400 stores throughout the country. It was acquired by private investment firm Bain Capital Partners about two years ago for an estimated $2.1 billion.

Sales drop
Last month, the retailer reported a 6% decline in comparative store sales during a three-month period ended March 1. The decrease was blamed on "weakened consumer demand and temporarily low of or out-of-stock issues in certain limited divisions." In the same period, the retailer reported a decrease in net income, attributed to a decrease in revenue and an increasing in sales and administrative expenses.
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