Arthur Sadoun
Arthur Sadoun

Publicis Groupe reported a 9.2 percent decline in Q3 revenues to $2.7B and a 5.6 percent slip in organic growth as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to batter its operations.

CEO Arthur Sadoun put a positive spin on the numbers, saying that Publicis did better than anticipated.

“Our organic growth for Q3 is at -5.6 percent, ahead of ad spend forecasts at -10 percent,” he said. “For the second quarter in a row, we are confirming that we have strong foundations to weather these unprecedented times.”

The US, which represents 60 percent of overall revenues, reported organic growth of -2.4 percent, rather than the -7.0 that had been forecasted.

The European business declined 9.7 percent to $640M in the quarter and 9.0 percent organically as the segment demonstrated “significant sequential improvement in most countries as advertisers resumed spending after lockdowns in the region," according to Publicis. The UK took a 10.6 percent hit in organic growth.

Sadoun is encouraged that “our performance with the top 200 clients is slightly positive for the first nine months of the year.”

He predicted that “these relatively solid business trends should continue until year-end” but warned that Q4 might be impacted and come in below Q3 due to the current resurgence of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed by governments to contain it.

Publicis owns Kekst CNC, Qorvis Communications and MSL.