Homebase hands ad work to Leo Burnett

Homebase has appointed Leo Burnett to handle its £27m ad account as part of a strategy aimed at boosting sales in the face of the economic downturn.

The agency has been briefed to create campaigns focusing on new products and services, and Homebase's national expansion plans.

Leo Burnett won the business in a final pitch against CHI & Partners; McCann Erickson had been knocked out at an earlier stage. Incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which had handled the account for 10 years, declined to repitch.

Previous campaigns for Homebase have starred Leslie Ash and Neil Morrissey. In 2007 it spent £21.8m on TV ads, almost £2m on radio and £3.1m on press, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The DIY retailer, which targets women and a more upmarket demographic than its rivals, is second in the sector in terms of market share. However, it is gradually closing in on market leader B&Q's 49.2% share, having increased its own to 18.5% last year, according to Mintel.

Owner Home Retail Group plans to open up to 15 more outlets a year for the foreseeable future. This expansion programme was given a boost last October when it bought 27 stores from rival Focus DIY for £40m.

The sector's value is predicted to rise 14.4% to £10.9bn by 2012, but this may be curbed by a credit crunch.

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