WH Smith hands top brand job to ex-Ocado head

WH Smith has drafted in Katie Spriggs, former head of brand marketing at online grocer Ocado, as brand communications director to oversee its most aggressive advertising campaign in years.

The high-street retailer is allocating millions of pounds to a price-focused TV blitz designed to win back market share from its competitors.

The company, which last week reported dismal trading figures - UK retail sales were down 2% to £1.48bn in the year to August 31 - is believed to be spending up to £10m on a Christmas campaign through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

This year's campaign will differ in tone from its 2002 festive ads, which positioned it as a provider of products to help consumers enjoy time off. Instead, the ads will be product-focused, with an emphasis on the chain's competitive pricing strategy.

Spriggs, who left Ocado in September 2002, will report to UK retail brand director Muriel Stirling.

Argos managing director Kate Swann joins WH Smith next month as chief executive.

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