Despite a “good performance” in February, the holding company’s like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs fell by 7.9 percent in March, with Greater China down 30 percent, Germany down 15 percent, the U.K. 9.8 percent and the U.S. 3.7 percent. Overall, revenue was down 3.3 percent for the quarter.
In a statement, WPP CEO Mark Read said its commercial performance had been encouraging before the full impact of the virus was felt. It also won $1 billion of new work in the quarter, including the global integrated Intel account, creative duties for Discover and the media accounts for Hasbro and Novo Nordisk.
He added that “while many clients are significantly impacted by a reduction in consumer demand, other sectors such as packaged goods, technology and food retail brands have been more resilient.”
As reported by Bloomberg News, WPP said recent measures to protect profits, including voluntary salary sacrifice by senior staff, will save the company 700 million to 800 million pounds ($873 million – $997 million) this year.
The WPP statement comes a day after Omnicom Group reported a 1.8 percent decline in revenue to $3.4 billion for the first quarter. Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse writes that CEO-Chairman John Wren said on an earnings call that the company “will continue to quickly reduce costs.”