WPP cuts sales forecast for year


Shares in advertising group WPP dropped over 10 percent in early trading on Wednesday, after the company slashed its revenue and sales forecast for the year.

WPP has already rattled investors in March when it set a 2017 target for net sales growth of just 2%.

Like-for-like sales in the six months ended June 30 fell by 0.5% compared with past year.

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Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell warned of the "cancer" of uncertainty around Brexit - though the company's United Kingdom arm outperformed the rest of the group in WPP's interim results, with sales growth accelerating.

It had previously pencilled in 2% growth.

The company said the cyberattack on June 27 that crippled computer systems at some of its agencies including GroupM and Y&R Group did not cause a significant loss in revenue and could not be blamed for the weaker performance in June and July.

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"There have been several examples recently of major groups being prepared to offer clients up-front discounts as an inducement to renew contracts, heavily reduced creative and media fees, extended payment terms", WPP said.

Despite the slowdown, total group revenue for the first six months of the year rose to £7.4bn from £6.5bn.

"WPP is very much seen as the bellwether of the advertising industry and as such is widely regarded as a global economic barometer and so it is unsurprising the shares have reacted in the way they have".

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"In the previous year or so, growth has become even more hard to find, perhaps due to increasing social, political and economic volatility, for example with the rise of populism typified by surprise election results in the United Kingdom and the United States".