WPP's public relations underperformance continues into Q1 2013

WPP's first quarter PR and public affairs revenues have dropped 1.4 per cent year on year to £221m.

WPP chief executive: Sir Martin Sorrell
WPP chief executive: Sir Martin Sorrell
PR, which was down 4.1 per cent year on year on a like-for-like basis, was the only one of the group’s four business strands not to contribute to the group’s overall 5.9 per cent revenue growth to £2.5bn.

Advertising and media investment management climbed six per cent, consumer insight 3.2 per cent and branding, healthcare and specialist communications 10.6 per cent.

WPP commented that the PR market had been particularly difficult in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific, but the UK and Latin America had been stronger.

Its first quarter troubles follow a fall in annual headline PR profits last year from £142.9m in 2011 to £136.4m and a one per cent drop in like-for-like revenues.

The group, which is led by chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, houses agencies including Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Ogilvy Public Relations, Penn Schoen & Berland and RLM Finsbury.

Other large marketing services groups have reported better performances in the sector in the same quarter.

Weber Shandwick owner Interpublic Group showed growth of four per cent and Fleishman-Hillard owner Omnicom reported a 1.9 per cent rise.

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