WPP cites “Brexit anxiety” as UK growth slows

Nov 1, 2016 | Online advertising

Advertising giant WPP has warned “the first signs of Brexit anxiety” are starting to show as the company reported slowing revenue growth in the UK. Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell said the British market was a “little bit softer, maybe reflecting some of the uncertainty around Brexit” in the quarter. WPP, the world’s largest advertising […]

Advertising giant WPP has warned “the first signs of Brexit anxiety” are starting to show as the company reported slowing revenue growth in the UK.


Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell said the British market was a “little bit softer, maybe reflecting some of the uncertainty around Brexit” in the quarter.
WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, reported third-quarter revenues of £3.6 billion, up 3.2% compared with the previous year but down slightly from the 3.5% growth rate in the second quarter.
However, in the UK growth slowed to 2.1% in the third quarter from 3.5% in the second quarter.
Speaking to the BBC, Sir Martin, said that even if sales were growing, these were “false gains”.
Sterling has lost almost a fifth of its value against the dollar since the referendum in June boosting WPP’s overall revenue by 23.4 per cent to £3.6 billion, with the US and the EU driving growth.
However, when adjusted to take account of currency moves, the increase was just 7.8%.
Sir Martin said: “If the value of the currency falls, it’s rather like the country’s stock price falling.
We have to watch what impact Brexit is going to have in the fourth quarter. All in all, it’s a good set of numbers in the third quarter, but it’s tough sledding. There’s low growth, low inflation, and our clients are very focused on costs.”
Sorrell, a prominent proponent of remaining in the EU, again reiterated that WPP will place a greater emphasis on growth in western continental Europe, in particular Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
To this end, WPP announced in September that it is investing in French media firm Les Nouvelles Editions Independantes, which owns holdings in newspaper Le Monde and Vice France. In its outlook, WPP highlighted the “diplomatic warfare and long-term negotiation around Brexit” and “right-wing and left-wing populism” around the US presidential election as reasons for caution.

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