Embattled advertising network Bates Worldwide has been dealt a fresh blow with news that its Royal Mail Group business will be shifted elsewhere.

The British postal operator has decided to reduce its £20 million ($31m; €29m) advertising budget and change its marketing communications strategy. “We are looking for a more integrated approach and we have a shortlist of four agencies which have stronger through-the-line capabilities,” the client explained.

Bates has worked on the Royal Mail account for eight years. It is also expected to lose the £17m UK business of retail chain Woolworths.

A string of major account defections from the network last year helped prompt the resignation of Michael Bungey, ceo of Bates’ holding company Cordiant Communications [WAMN: 02-Sep-02].

The struggling parent group recently announced it would hold on to Bates and its marketing services offspring (141 Worldwide, Fitch and HealthWorld), but sell off most other assets [WAMN: 21-Feb-03].

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