Publicis warns of halt to spending


The company which owns top London advertising agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Bartle Bogle Hegarty yesterday warned of an “abrupt halt” in ad spending by clients since September.

France’s Publicis Groupe was following Britain’s WPP, which made a similar warning on Thursday, but the slowdown at Publicis  was more dramatic as it missed September forecasts by a wide margin.

Its chairman and chief executive Maurice Lévy, pictured, admitted revenues fell 1.6 per cent in September against a forecast of 6.6 per cent growth.

“Since the end of the summer, advertisers have increasingly adopted a wait-and-see attitude, cancelling or postponing campaigns,” he said.

Publicis, the world’s third-biggest ad group, has a huge client list, including major multi-nationals such as  T-Mobile, British Airways and Google. Like WPP its sales are often seen as an early economic indicator.

Revenues kept growing during July and August, before the sudden change in sentiment.

Across the third quarter, global sales were up 2 per cent to €1.63bn (£1.3bn), but Europe slumped 3.6 per cent. Even the UK was down 0.8 per cent despite the Olympics, in stark contrast to WPP, which reported sales up 4.7 per cent.