© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Branding signage for WPP, the largest global advertising and PR agency in their offices in London, UK, July 17, 2019. REUTERS / Toby Melville / File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – WPP, the world's largest advertising company, said underlying net sales rose 19.3% in the second quarter, beating expectations and increasing growth to 11% in the first half ahead of 2019 as customers Increased spending as part of the COVID recovery.
Chief Executive Mark Read said the second quarter growth was the highest ever as clients reinvested in marketing, particularly digital media, e-commerce and technology.
This meant that WPP (LON 🙂 had bounced back to 2019 levels a year before its forecasts.
"Customers see good economic prospects for the second half of the year and next year and are deciding to invest in their brands," he said in an interview on Thursday.
"They put a lot of money into digital media," he said. "We see continued growth in public relations and public affairs given the importance of employee communications and the company's reputation."
The British corporation on Thursday raised its full-year outlook to 9-10% growth, with an overall operating margin at the upper end of the range of 13.5% -14.0%.
The UK group's stocks are up 58% over the past year, helped by a surge in demand from customers launching new products and brands for consumers in advanced economies ready to start spending again on items such as luxury goods and domestic travel .
Its strong performance mirrors that of its peers, with Omnicom, IPG and France's Publicis all outperforming quarterly forecasts.
The recovery at WPP, the owner of Ogilvy, Gray and GroupM, came after Chief Executive Mark Read tried to better combine the group's digital and data skills with their creative work, a new approach that was requested by clients.
The pandemic has also made it possible to gain work to help companies build e-commerce and digital offerings when traditional trade routes are suddenly closed.
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