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A.C. Nielsen Co.'s market research wing suffered two blows last week, losing the right to exclusive contracts with Canadian retailers and announcing the imminent departure of ECR czar Doug Adams.

Canada's Competition Tribunal last week prohibited Nielsen from enforcing or arranging retailer contracts that give Nielsen exclusive access to scanner sales data. The ruling paves the way for rival Information Resources Inc. to enter the $70 million Canadian scanner data market, one of Niel-sen's three most profitable countries worldwide, according to an analyst.

The tribunal said it is prepared to force Nielsen to supply IRI with historical data, a move that would accelerate IRI's ability to win clients in Canada. Package-goods marketers need at least one year of background data against which to compare current sales.

Nielsen said it is reviewing the tribunal's decision and has 30 days to decide if it will appeal the ruling.

Separately, Mr. Adams, president of ECR & Retail Services, said last week he will leave Nielsen at the end of the month to pursue other options. His departure follows Nielsen's move last month to integrate the Efficient Consumer Response unit into the company's mainstream business.

"A number of things I believe in and have been pushing Nielsen and others toward have been a little further off than I thought," said Mr. Adams. "Census data hasn't developed as fast as I thought....The applications aren't as rich as customers would like. Manufacturers and retailers have to sort out their relationship before census will take off."

Census data-data collected from every store in a chain-is the engine driving ECR. ECR is the grocery industry initiative to reduce costs through more efficient promotions, fluid inventory replenishment and more profitable store assortment.

Mr. Adams, a former Frito-Lay executive, was hired in 1993 by George Garrick, the IRI veteran who briefly served as Nielsen's president before rejoining IRI. Mr. Adams was to lead development and sales of ECR services to client manufacturers, but said he's spent much of his time recruiting retailers to build Nielsen's census database.

All ECR marketing activities will be led by Exec VP-Marketing John Lewis, while Robert Livingston, senior VP-customer development, will spearhead sales of ECR services to manufacturers. Mr. Adams' successor, who will lead retail sales, will be named later this month.

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