Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buoyant WPP Sees Positive Signs in Rising UK Revenues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buoyant WPP Sees Positive Signs in Rising UK Revenues

Article excerpt

Byline: Gideon Spanier

THE world's biggest advertising group offered fresh hope today that the worst of the economic gloom is past as it reported surging revenues.

WPP, seen as a key barometer of the global economy, dismissed fears that clients were cutting spending as its UK revenues jumped 6.7% in the past three months.

Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell claimed companies were still investing in advertising because they felt it was a safe way to maintain or increase market share.

"Because everyone is so cautious in the West, they're not investing in capacity, they're investing in brands," he said. "In newer markets, they are investing in capacity and they're investing in brands. You've got a positive double whammy."

Global revenues at WPP, home to agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather and JWT, rose 4.7% on a like-for-like basis to [pounds sterling]2.46 billion in the quarter to September.

China, India and Singapore all grew at double-digit rates while the UK "improved significantly" despite the eurozone turmoil and other worries such as the August riots.

Sorrell said WPP, whose agencies have as much as 40% of the UK ad market, was winning big media-buying accounts such as Barclays from rival M&C Saatchi. British clients were also spending heavily on digital and social media, more than compensating for any decline in traditional media such as TV.

WPP has increased its UK staff numbers in the past three months and also beefed up its war chest for acquisitions from [pounds sterling]100 million to [pounds sterling]400 million.

Sorrell remained cautious, saying the UK and Europe still faced "a slog", but warned against pessimism. "The continuous macro-economic gloom and despair in the media and elsewhere must have some impact on both corporate and consumer confidence."

The WPP chief added that the Lib-Con coalition must do more to boost the economy and urged Chancellor George Osborne to spell out plans in his November 29 statement to the Commons. …

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