LONDON — WPP's PR firms have reported 2.0% like-for-like revenue growth in the second quarter of 2023.

PR revenues for the first half of the year were up 2.1% on a LFL basis from the first half of 2022, and 6.7% on an as reported basis. Revenues for the PR group, which includes BCW, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, FGS Global and Ogilvy, rose 2.2% in Q1.

In its earnings report, WPP singled out H+K for its continued double-digit growth, and FGS which registered a “strong performance” following private equity group KKR’s purchase of a 29% stake in the corporate and financial communications specialist firm in April.

BCW, meantime, experienced “a slight revenue decline,” during the first six months of the year, WPP said. Corey duBrowa who led Google’s communications since 2018, assumed his new role as CEO of BCW earlier this month, succeeding Donna Imperato, who retired from WPP after 15 years.

The PR unit, however, performed better than WPP’s other groups in Q2. Global integrated agencies revenue rose 1.5%. Specialist agencies saw revenue drop by 1.6%.

WPP as a whole saw LFL revenue rise 2.3% in Q2 and 3.5% during the first half of the year.

WPP CEO Mark Read said: “Our performance in the first half has been resilient with Q2 growth accelerating in all regions except the USA, which was impacted in the second quarter by lower spending from technology clients and some delays in technology-related projects. This was felt primarily in our integrated creative agencies. China returned to growth in the second quarter albeit more slowly than expected. In the near term, we expect the pattern of activity in the first half to continue into the second half of the year.

“Our media business, GroupM, grew consistently across the first six months as did our businesses in the UK, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Client spending in consumer packaged goods, financial services and healthcare remained good and, despite short-term challenges, our technology clients represent an important driver of long-term growth. Our agencies performed extremely well at the Cannes Lions Festival winning five Grand Prix and 165 Lions with Mindshare recognised as the most-awarded media agency. We won major new business assignments with clients including: Reckitt, Mondelēz, easyJet, Lloyds Banking Group, Pernod Ricard and India’s second largest advertiser, Maruti Suzuki.

“We have exciting future plans in AI that build on our acquisition of Satalia in 2021 and our use of AI across WPP. We are leveraging our efforts with partnerships with the leading players including Adobe, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Nvidia and OpenAI. We are delivering work powered by AI for many clients including Nestlé, Nike and Mondelēz. AI will be fundamental to WPP’s future success and we are committed to embracing it to drive long-term growth and value,” he said.