Reuters / (Adds details)
LONDON, April 27 WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, reported a 0.8 percent rise in first-quarter like-for-like net sales growth, slightly shy of expectations at about 1 percent, citing a weak performance in North America.
New business momentum, however, produced $2.1 billion of net new work in the first in the first three months of the year, compared with $1.8 billion in the same quarter last year.
The British company, led by founder and CEO Martin Sorrell, rattled investors in March when it cut its 2017 sales forecast, citing an ultra competitive environment in which rivals were having to scrap for every dollar of advertising spend.
From 3.1 percent net sales growth in 2016, WPP cut its key 2017 target to a “conservative” 2 percent because of “tepid” economic growth and weaker net new business trends.
It reiterated that 2 percent target on Thursday and said it expects a stronger second half of the year.
WPP, which has outperformed rivals for several years, lost contracts from the likes of VW and AT&T in 2016 and could suffer this year after consumer goods giant Unilever, its third-biggest customer, said it planned to cut advertising spending.
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by David Goodman)
GLOBALES: UPDATE 1-WPP sales held back by weak U.S., sees improving momentum
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