Diana Marszalek 30 Oct 2020 // 12:20AM GMT
LONDON —WPP’s PR agencies continue to be the holding groups’s top performing group so far this year, despite a 2.9% drop in like-for-like revenue in the third quarter.
The company’s Q3 earnings report, released Thursday, show the PR firms — which include BCW, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and newly-merged Finsbury Glover Hering — recorded £210m in like-for-like revenue during the three months ending Sept. 30.
The 2.9% dip experienced by the group was an improvement over Q2, when the group's revenue fell 7.5% in conjunction with the widespread Covid-19 shutdown. The earnings reported noted that BCW in particular is recovering well.
The PR firms fared better in Q3 than WPP’s other divisions. Global integrated agency revenue fell by 6.7% on a like-for-like basis during the quarter. Specialist agencies revenue was down 13.8%. Business was down 7.6% across WPP as a whole.
The report comes roughly six months after WPP took a number of steps to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the business, including a hire freeze, reviewing freelance spend, postponing pay rises and stopping discretionary costs. It also put additional measures in place, including voluntary salary sacrifice (more than 3,000 people on higher salaries have taken cuts of up to 20% for three months) and reduced hours.
Said CEO Mark Read:
“WPP continues to demonstrate its resilience in a challenging market. We have maintained our new business momentum as clients seek out our creativity and our skills in media, technology, data and ecommerce. This month, Uber joined a growing list of major assignment wins that includes Alibaba, Dell, HSBC, Intel, Unilever and Whirlpool, and we continue to lead the new business rankings. We have also renewed and expanded our relationship with Walgreens Boots Alliance to encompass its data- and technology-driven marketing strategy.
“Given the tightening of COVID restrictions around the world and uncertainty in the global economic outlook, we remain cautious about the pace of recovery. It is important that we maintain our strong financial position and we are on track to achieve cost savings towards the upper end of our £700-800 million target.
“Our people have done a superb job in serving our clients, largely working from home, but the events of 2020 have of course created new pressures for everyone. We have increased our investment in employee support services, with a particular focus on mental health and wellbeing, and this will be an ongoing priority for our leadership.”