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Retail Round-Up March 18th

Retailers overtake FMCG in advertising firepower

A huge increase in supermarket advertising saw retailers outspend fmcg brands for the first time last year. The Grocer revealed retailers increased spend on TV, press, cinema, radio and outdoor advertising by 17% to £1.73bn in 2010. Over the same period spend by fmcg brands rose by 7.9% to £1.69bn. Tesco spent £102m on advertising, a 9% increase, and it was the smallest increase of the big four in percentage terms. The biggest surge in advertising was recorded by Marks & Spencer, increasing spend by 59% to £62m with the vast majority on additional fashion-focused pieces. Waitrose also invested heavily in media, with its budget up 84% to £22m to promote its Delia Smith/Heston Blumenthal tie-up, as well as a Tesco-baiting price match pledge.

General Mills wins race for Yoplait stake

General Mills has swooped to acquire a 50% share of French yoghurt brand Yoplait. The deal is thought to be worth €800m. The US group beat rival bidders including China’s Bright Food Group to acquire the stake from private equity fund PAI Partners and French dairy co-operative Sodiaal.

Innocent founder Balon walks into private equity role

Adam Balon, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks, has joined Piper Private equity as an adviser. Piper specialises in mid-market consumer brands and previously held a stake in Maximuscle.

The Perfume Shop plans loyalty scheme

The Perfume Shop is preparing to launch its first loyalty programme as part of an overhaul of its brand communications strategy. The retailer is planning a brand campaign at the end of the year to build deeper brand engagement. Previous activity has focused on price promotions and products. The retail chain will focus more on communicating its “accessible luxury” proposition delivered by in-store fragrance experts.

Unilever completes leadership overhaul

Unilever has appointed Coca-Cola marketer Marc Mathieu to the newly created senior vice president (SVP) of marketing role. He will be responsible for developing the Unilever brand and “delivering a step-change” in the FMCG company’s marketing skills and capabilities. Mathieu will join Unilever on 1 April and report to Keith Reed, chief marketing and communications officer.

Britvic readies first ever sweets range

Soft drinks manufacturer Britvic has licensed the use of its Robinsons squash brand for its first ever confectionery range. Robinsons Classic Fruits aims to attract consumers loyal to the squash brand and hopes give the confectionery sector “a much needed shot in the arm”. The hanging-bag range of boiled sweets will RRP at £1.45 and Robinsons says the premium positioning will increase the company’s cash value.

Keri Link is a consultant on the Interim team at FreshMinds