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Original Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

Date: December 2, 2020

The retailer hands its media business to the performance marketing shop only two years after enlisting Horizon Media as its lead agency

Burlington Stores has stitched up a new agency-of-record contract with performance marketing shop Lockard & Wechsler Direct, which will handle all of the off-price retailer’s offline media duties across television, radio, print and out-of-home moving forward.

The shift follows a review that takes the business from incumbent Horizon Media, which only won the account in 2018 from longtime media partner IPG Mediabrands‘ Initiative.

Horizon Media declined to comment.

“Throughout our agency review, LWD distinguished themselves as a smart, collaborative partner that would bring an efficient and strategic approach to our media plan,” Chris Miller, Senior VP of Marketing at Burlington Stores, said. “We look forward to working with the LWD team to grow Burlington’s business going forward.”

According to COMvergence estimates, Burlington Stores spent $47 million on measured media in the U.S. last year.

“We had great chemistry with the Burlington team from the very start of the review process and are thrilled to be selected as their agency partner,” Asieya Pine, President of Lockard & Wechsler, said. “I am confident that this collaborative relationship will successfully deliver Burlington’s goals at speed and scale.” 

Ben Speight, Executive VP of Client Services at the agency, added: “We are confident that LWD’s unique planning process, real accountability and insights driven approach will add efficiency and further extend Burlington’s presence in the market.”

According to the companies, Burlington sought a partner to deliver “audience-based, flexible and [an] extremely efficient approach to strategic media planning” in its review. It’s an interesting shift for Burlington to send its media account to a performance marketing agency over a traditional buying and planning shop. During this time, brands wanting greater efficiency and more for less have increasingly sought out performance marketing services as COVID puts a squeeze on budgets, therefore leading them to demand better measurable results from their partners before they cut a check.

Burlington, like many brick-and-mortar retailers, has suffered in the pandemic from the temporary closures of its stores due to the COVID virus. The Burlington, New Jersey-based company reported a steep 39% total sales decline for its recent third quarter. It did not report comparable store sales figures—the revenue generated by a company’s stores that have been open for a year or more, which is a good indicator of a retailer’s health—for the third quarter, due to the closures.

The company said it expects to have 62 new stores open this year, while relocating or closing 26 stores. At the end of the third quarter, Burlington operated a total of 769 stores in the U.S.

Lockard & Wechsler, with roots tracing back to 1967, says it “specializes in direct-to-consumer acquisition, retail support and brand building anchored against data minded strategic planning, buying and negotiation across traditional and emerging channels.”

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