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Advertising giant WPP profits from pound's Brexit slump despite fall in US sales

WPP has said sterling's Brexit-induced slump and strong UK growth had helped revenues rise despite taking a hit from falling US sales.

The advertising giant booked a 17% jump in reported revenues to £3.6 billion for the first quarter, with net sales climbing 19% as the firm enjoyed an added boost after translating overseas earnings back into pounds.

It said the UK and Western Continental Europe had grown strongly on a like-for-like basis, rising 3.2% and 5.3% respectively over the period.

The firm also cheered an 18% rise in net new business to 2.1 billion US dollars (£1.6 billion) for the first quarter, up from 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.3 billion) over the same period last year.

However, its American business suffered a 3% like-for-like decline, while Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East were "more or less flat".

The update came as the firm's digital investment arm snapped up American innovation studio Deeplocal, which recorded group revenues of 12 million US dollars (£9.3 million) last year.

The FTSE 100 firm said it had prepared its 2017 budgets on a "cautious basis" and was forecasting full-year like-for-like revenues and net sales growth of around 2%.

It added: " 2017 has started more slowly, with like-for-like net sales growth of just under 1%, but with renewed and encouraging net new business wins, confidential assignments globally, in the United States and the Middle East, and further wins to be announced and opportunities to be explored over the coming months."

Stripping out the uplift from the Brexit-hit pound, revenues grew by 3.6% in the first quarter and net sales - the firm's preferred measure of performance - rose by 4.8%.

Shares were down more than 2% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.

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