Speculation Over UK Retail Giant's Marketing Arm

25 May 2004

Speculation is growing that retail group GUS may demerge Experian, its credit services and marketing division.

GUS, the market's biggest non-food retailer which includes the Argos Retail Group, gets about 34% of its turnover from Experian.

Experian, worth an estimated £4 billion ($7m;€6m) sells credit data to companies as well as providing information to below-the-line marketers via Absolute Movers.

The service, which claims to be updated more regularly than its rivals, ensures marketers have valid data which helps eliminate waste and brand damage.

Analysts regard the move as one of the biggest corporate reorganisations for some time.

Although the company has yet to comment on the speculation, there are signs that it would be part of a continuing move for GUS to focus more on its retail business.

Last year the group sold its £590m mail order home shopping business, which includes brands such as Kays and Marshall Ward to the Barclay brothers.

The deal gave the Barclay's, who have interests ranging from media to the hotel industry, a 30% share of the catalogue sector.

In July 2002 GUS which is majority owner of Burberry, partially floated the up-market fashion house.

Data sourced from: Mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff