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WPP cuts growth forecast as second quarter sales slow

Shares in WPP slid by 9% at the start of trading after the advertising giant reported slowing sales and warned about future growth.The company said that group performance had been “much tougher” for the first seven months of its financial year.It blamed growing economic uncertainty, including due to a “rise of populism” in the UK and the US, and “bumpy” growth in Brazil, Russia and China.WPP now expects sales growth of 0%-1% compared to previous forecasts of 2%.Total group revenue rose to £7.4bn for the six months to June from £6.5bn. Pre-tax profit grew by 52.4% to £779.2m.However, WPP said that like-for-like revenue decelerated over the six months to June, in particular the second quarter when client spending was “under considerable pressure” in the fast moving consumer goods or packaged goods sectors.US uncertaintyConditions worsened in July when like-for-like revenue shrank by 4.1%. The company said that like-for-like sales are down 0.9% for the year to date.WPP said that new business wins and increased client spending should help turnover in the second half of its financial year as well as into 2018, buoyed by events such as the Russian World Cup, the mid-term Congressional elections and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.However, the company also indicated that uncertainty would continue next year because of economic and political worries in the US.WPP said in a statement: “The limitations of the new [Trump] administration seem to be jeopardising the anti-regulatory, infrastructure and tax reduction programme that was promised.”But it added: “America First, if the new administration’s plans are finally implemented, will almost definitely mean a stronger American economy, at least in the short-to medium-term.”
Source: BBC News

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