WPP forecasts growth after marketers’ confidence returns

WPP, the marketing services group, has raised its full-year revenue forecast to 2% growth after reporting an upturn in client marketing spend in the first quarter.

Sir Martin Sorrell
Sir Martin Sorrell

The company, which owns creative agencies, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and JWT, says global revenue increased 0.5% on a constant current basis to £2.1bn.

Like for like growth was flat in the three months to March.

Revenue stabilised in the first quarter following a 7.2% dip in the final three months of 2009 and an 8% decline for the full-year.

The group, which also owns the GroupM and MediaCom media agency networks, says 2010 has “started in a very different way to how 2009 ended”.

It adds there has been “a change in client attitudes”.

In a trading update, the group says that while 2009 marketing budgets were prepared “staring into the abyss” following the financial crisis, 2010 investment plans “were prepared having avoided the apocalypse or Armageddon and, perhaps, with more focus on how to achieve top-line growth, rather than on just cutting costs.”

UK revenue rose 12.1% to £251.6m in the first quarter, up 0.2% on a constant currency basis.

WPP’s more optimistic outlook mirrors recent announcement from its marketing services rivals.

Publicis, Omnicom and Havas have all recently reported an upturn in revenue in the first quarter.

Yesterday (29 April) Interpublic Group said marketing spend was growing faster than expected.

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