WPP raises net sales outlook again after strong client spending

Branding signage for WPP, the largest global advertising and public relations agency at their offices in London, Britain, July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – WPP (WPP.L), the world’s largest advertising group, increased its annual net sales outlook on Friday after an upbeat second-quarter, boosted by strong client spending in the travel and technology industries.

Britain’s WPP said like-for-like net sales from the technology sector grew 12% in the first half, helped by a range of deals including with “Fortnite” maker Epic Games and online grocer Instacart.

London-listed WPP, owner of the Ogilvy, Gray and GroupM agencies, said the travel sector was also rebounding strongly, with a 23% growth in the first half, although sales still remained below pre-pandemic levels.

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Chief Executive Mark Read said he was not particularly worried about a forecasted recession in Britain, pointing to client spending holding up across industries and markets. The UK accounts for 13% of WPP’s overall business.

“We’re yet to see any major impact on advertising spend,” he said in an interview. “We are in very close contact with our clients on spending patterns and their investments and consumer spending has held up around the world surprisingly well.”

WPP now expects like-for-like net sales to grow 6%-7% in 2022, up from an already upgraded forecast of 5.5%-6.5%.

The forecasted increase was less than the 8.9% jump in its main net sales measure – like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs – during the first half of the year, implying a slower pace of growth in the latter half.

($1 = 0.8233 pounds)

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Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Kate Holton; editing by William James

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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