Tesco, Britain's largest supermarket chain which accounts for one-eighth of all UK retail sales, on Monday pulled its £45 million ($77m; €66m) account from Interpublic Group-owned agency network Lowe Worldwide.

The move was widely expected around London adland's parish pump after the eponymous agency's founder, Sir Frank Lowe, announced his intention to launch a new shop [WAMN: 05-Dec-05] and within 24 hours was joined by Paul Weinberger, former chairman of Lowe London and Tesco account lynchpin.

No formal announcement has yet been made as to Tesco's intended destination - but no prizes are on offer for guessing.

The decision steps up the pressure both on IPG and its Lowe network, hanging a massive question mark over the futute of the latter which has in recent months waved a tearful handkerchief at the departing backs of Unilever, Century 21 and Macy's department store.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff