NEW YORK — Omnicom Group, which owns numerous PR firms including FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli, has reported that its PR firms were down 0.5% on an organic basis during the first quarter of 2019.

The decline in revenue comes after four consecutive quarters of growth for the PR group. During Q4 2018, revenue grew 1.5%, although that was down from the 2.3% lift in revenue the group experienced during the third quarter of 2018. During Q2, the PR group experienced 2.7% growth which was far ahead of the year's weak first quarter, when PR grew by just 0.7%.

Chairman and CEO John Wren, however, said he expects the group's performance to be on the upswing. "We are seeing some positive signs in certain areas of our PR operations and believe the growth strategies being implemented by our management teams will result in better performance," Wren said during the quarterly earnings call.

The PR group performance was mixed by geographic regions. The UK and Asia were both positive. North America was marginally negative with Continental Europe and Latin America both lagging in the quarter, according to the company.

Healthcare, which was up 6.8%, had the highest year-over-year first quarter performance of Omnicom's five divisions. Advertising was the only other division that showed positive results, increasing 5.1% over Q1 2018. CRM consumer experience was down 0.6% and CRM execution and support was down 3.3%.

Overall, Omnicom's worldwide revenue in the first quarter of of 2019 decreased 4.4% to $3,468.9 million from $3,629.6 million in the first quarter of 2018. The components of the change in revenue included a decrease in revenue from the negative foreign exchange rate impact of 3.4%, a decrease in acquisition revenue, net of disposition revenue of 3.6% and an increase in revenue from organic growth of 2.5% when compared to the first quarter of 2018.