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Sainbury's hires Portas to accelerate growth of clothing

UK retailer Sainsbury's has appointed retail guru Mary Portas's PR agency to accelerate growth of its non-food business and establish its Tu clothing line as a "destination brand" for high street fashion.

Creative agency Portas will take over Sainsbury's general merchandise advertising account, including Tu clothing and Sainsbury's Home – a new brand to be launched by the retailer.

Tu is currently the sixth largest clothing retailer in the UK.

Portas says the investment in building the Tu and Sainsbury's Home brands reflects the business' ambition for general merchandise. The agency has developed a long-term creative strategy that it says will roll-out over many seasons to come.

Mark Given, marketing director at Sainsbury's, says: "Having spent a large proportion of 2016 sharpening up our advertising strategy in this very competitive sector, 2017 is set to be a very exciting year for us. The work produced by Portas during the pitch process was very much in line with this strategy and it was great to see a refreshing new take on our fashion and home communications."

Sainsbury's grew its clothing sales in the first half thanks to the launch of two new ranges, and continues to grow its market share. The acquisition of Home Retail Group in September last year, which operates the Argos general merchandise stores, also means customers are now able to collect Tu clothing from 200 digital collection points.

Caireen Wackett, managing director of Portas, said of the new deal: "From the moment we met the Sainsbury's GM team we knew we could do great work. They're passionate, smart, brave marketers with an enormous ambition for Tu and Home. We share that ambition. We are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with Sainsbury's to deliver our brand idea through every channel and touchpoint."

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