WPP inches ahead as UK and US perk up

It’s not often you hear a good report of the UK from WPP but the marcomms giant has just reported organic growth of four per cent in the UK in April and May, ahead of rates in continental Europe but behind the US which grew by seven per cent in those months (the US is up five per cent for the year).

Overall WPP is two per cent ahead of last year with the strongest performers being China and India.

Chairman Philip Lader fronted the group’s announcement rather than the usually omnipresent CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and he says two per cent is about the best they expect this year, fearing that strife in the Eurozone will hit demand.

Interestingly he said that WPP is hiring again and offering pay rises after a pay squeeze and the loss of 12,000 jobs in 2009. It now employs 138,000 people around the world if companies in which it has a minority stake are included.

WPP, like others, will be keeping a wary eye on economic data from the UK and US to see if the withdrawal of support for the economy by their respective governments (mostly sharply in the UK) hits demand. Nerves won’t have been helped by the UK’s Official of National Statistics, a pretty hopeless bunch in truth, delaying the release of the latest batch of output data because of ‘errors.’

As for continental Europe the cack-handed withdrawal of European Central Bank support for European banks on Tuesday, a move that sent stock markets across the world spiralling downwards, will hardly add to confidence.

Something for those people who are currently being hired by WPP to contemplate.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.