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WPP's new boss nudges net sales outlook higher

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WPP's new boss nudges net sales outlook higher
FILE PHOTO: An usher holds a baton to guide attendees towards the AGM of advertising agency WPP in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – WPP <WPP.L> nudged its full-year net sales outlook higher on Tuesday after it reported a 0.3 percent rise in the first half helped by demand in Europe, as its new boss said he would lay out his new strategy by the end of the year.

The group’s operating margin slipped however, down 0.4 points, and it is likely to stay at a similar level for the full year as it restructures.

The world’s biggest advertising company, under new boss Mark Read who was appointed on Monday, said it now expected growth in full-year net sales to come in at a similar level to the first half, ahead of its previous prediction of no growth at all.

The British company has gone through a tumultuous few months after founder and CEO Martin Sorrell quit in April over a complaint of personal misconduct, which he denied.

That followed a sharp year-long downturn in trading sparked by cautious clients and competition from Google, Facebook and consultants such as Deloitte.

“The second quarter of 2018 was WPP’s first quarter of like-for-like growth since Q1 2017, and the company has performed strongly in terms of winning and retaining business over the period,” Read said.

“As Chief Executive, my focus will be on invigorating our company and returning the business to stronger, sustainable growth.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Paul Sandle)

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