Dow Jones Newswires: WPP comparable sales rise as advertising giant backs 2019 guidance

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WPP PLC said Friday that like-for-like net sales rose 0.5% in the third quarter, and backed its guidance for the full year.

The world’s largest advertising group WPP, -0.26%  said like-for-like net sales — a closely-watched measurement of its underlying performance — in North America fell 3.5% for the quarter to Sept. 30. Consensus net sales forecast was for a fall of 0.6%, supplied by the company.

London-based WPP, which owns agencies such as Grey, Ogilvy and GroupM, generated revenue of 3.29 billion pounds ($4.24 billion) for the quarter compared with GBP3.13 billion for the year-earlier period.

WPP reiterated its guidance for 2019. It continues to expect like-for-like net sales to fall by 1.5% to 2.0%, and headline operating margin to net sales to fall around 1.0 margin point on a constant-currency basis.

“Our growth in 3Q is encouraging but we are focused on delivering these longer-term goals and know there will be twists and turns along the way. Our guidance for 2019 remains unchanged,” Chief Executive Mark Read said.

WPP’s third-quarter net sales performance improved compared with a 1.4% decline in the previous three-month period, after French peer Publicis Groupe SA PUB, -0.23%  cut its 2019 guidance and fell short of analysts’ expectations for the third quarter earlier this month.