Next Fifteen Communications Group has reported a 5.6 percent growth in first-half revenues (ended July) to $197.4M despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK-based operation reported an operating loss of $500K largely due to a $14M write-off of no-longer-needed office space. It posted a $9.8M year-ago profit.

Chairman Richard Eyre and CEO Tim Dyson noted Next 15’s performance came during a “sector backdrop of double-digit declines in revenues.”

They attributed Next 15’s “resilient performance to the COVID-19 related disruption of economic activity” to the firm’s strength in the high-tech category, which generates 55 percent of overall revenues.

The B2B group benefitted as clients focused on short-term revenue generation at the expense of long-term brand building and the fall-off in the live events industry, according to the joint statement from Eyre and Dyson. Spending from consumer-oriented clients took a hit, but is showing signs of recovery.

Based on the success of the COVID-19 driven work-at-home model, Next 15 is shedding a third of its real estate in London, New York and San Francisco. The firm is marketing the 100K sq. ft of “surplus to requirements” space. Eyre and Dyson predicted the office downsizing would result in a $3.6M savings in 2020 and $2M in 2021.

Next 15’s PR units include Outcast, Archetype, M Booth and Blue Shirt Group.