WPP reports 3.3% hike in net sales for Q3 but UK revenue growth slows

WPP has reported a 3.3 per cent hike in net sales, after stripping out the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, for the third quarter of 2015.

Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's chief executive
Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's chief executive

Net sales at the marketing services holding company, for the three months up to 30 September, was £2.52 billion – up 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like comparison with the same period in 2014.

Revenue for the third quarter of 2015 was £2.93 billion, representing an increase in reported revenue of 5.9 per cent and a like-for-like increase of 4.6 per cent on the same period in 2014.

Revenue growth using constant currency exchange rates was 7.9 per cent, which reflects the weakness of the pound against the US dollar, although this weakness was offset by the strength of the pound against the Euro and currencies in faster growth markets.

In the UK, like-for-like revenue growth for the third quarter of 2015 was 1.1 per cent. In the second quarter of the year that same growth figure was 4 per cent, showing a marked slowing, which WPP attributed to a "softening" in advertising, media investment management, data investment management and healthcare.

However, like-for-like net sales growth in the third quarter in the UK was 2.2 per cent up on the same period in 2014. It was a performance that equalled the second quarter of 2015.

WPP did not provide profit figures for the quarter but said that its constant currency operating margin for the first nine months of the year was up 0.5 percentage points on the previous year, exceeding expectations.

Reported revenue for the first nine months of the year at WPP was up 6.5 per cent on the previous year, at £8.77 billion. Like-for-like, that growth figure dropped to 4.8 per cent.

WPP predicts that net sales and revenue in the final quarter of the year will grow faster than they did in the first nine months of 2015.