WPP Revenue Growth Slows After Client Spending Declines

By Nick Kostov Features Dow Jones Newswires

WPP PLC said its revenue growth slowed in the second quarter as clients spent less in the U.S. and Western Europe.

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The world's largest advertising company lowered its forecast for growth for 2017, citing major slowdowns in industries that it had long relied upon for growth, such as consumers-goods and retail. It now expects growth of up to only 1% this year.

WPP said its like-for-like net sales--a measure used to judge the company's underlying performance--declined 0.5% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, below the expectations of analysts. For July, like-for-like net sales declined 2.6%.

The U.K.-based company, whose agencies include Mindshare and JWT, said Wednesday that reported profit before interest and tax rose 15% to £882 million in the first half. Reported revenue rose 13% to GBP7.4 billion for the period, lifted by favorable currency translation to the Brexit-weakened pound.

WPP's share price has dropped this year, with many of its largest clients struggling to boost growth amid a tepid global economy, tough competition and fast-shifting consumer tastes.

WPP raised its dividend to GBP22.7 pence from GBP19.55 pence in the first half.

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Write to Nick Kostov at Nick.Kostov@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 23, 2017 02:37 ET (06:37 GMT)