Publicis Groupe UK revenue hit by retail and Blackberry

Publicis Groupe has reported its UK revenue declined by almost 2 per cent in Q2 2014, following reductions in the retail sector and the impact of the decline of the phone manufacturer Blackberry.

Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe
Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe

According to Publicis Groupe, the UK "improved slightly" during the quarter but remained in "negative territory" after revenue decreased by 1.9 per cent, which the group attributed to "certain clients reducing their investment".

Maurice Lévy, the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, said: "In the UK the decline is mainly coming from the retail sector and the fact that the international business for Blackberry was concentrated in the UK."

When questioned by Campaign, Lévy said the retail decline was mostly attributable to Publicis Worldwide with a "little bit" at Saatchi & Saatchi, which lost the £110 million Asda account to VCCP last year.

Lévy said: "Blackberry has moved from consumer communication to business to business and something like 90 per cent of spend has evaporated."

Lévy said the decline was being felt at Razorfish and would continue to affect the agency because Blackberry "is not returning to a consumer communication programme".

"Their [Blackberry’s] strategy is closer with the business, and it’s the right strategy by the way, and so we should expect this will last," Lévy said.

The decline in retail could continue to affect Publicis Groupe in the UK in the second half of the year, Lévy said, but the group’s revenue in the country should increase. "I expect so, absolutely," Lévy said.

Revenue in France "performed well" and increased by 4.2 per cent. Elsewhere, revenue declined in Germany by 1.9 per cent, Spain by 1.2 per cent and Italy by 0.4 per cent.

Publicis Groupe said the figures in Southern Europe are an improvement in 2013 but that the situation in these countries "remains fragile nonetheless".

Overall revenue at Publicis Groupe was €1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2014, down 1.5 per cent year on year but an increase of 0.5 per cent on an organic basis.

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