NEWS21 June 2011

Creston insight revenue drops 7%

Financials News UK

UK— Creston’s insight companies saw revenue and headline profit fall in the year ended 31 March 2011, while the group as a whole grew.

Revenue for the group as a whole (excluding third-party sales costs charged to clients) grew 7% like-for-like, but the insight division, which accounts for around a fifth of the group’s work, saw its revenue drop 7.5% to £14.8m, while headline profit before interest and tax (which excludes acquisitions and restructuring costs) fell from £4.9m to £4.1m. On a reported basis, the figure was up from £0.7m to £3.9m.

Creston said its insight division began the financial year facing “a period of significant challenge” with falling revenues across the research sector and the departure of a number of senior managers at its biggest research business ICM, including founder Nick Sparrow. It has also had to deal with higher costs in data collection work, it said.

Group CEO Don Elgie (pictured) said ICM had returned to growth in the final quarter of the year, and the division had won new business from Sainsbury’s and BT. “We are confident of the future prospects for the agency and the division,” he said. “The restructure of the senior management within ICM has proved successful and we remain confident heading into the 2012 financial year.”

ICM is the largest company in Creston’s research division, which also includes Marketing Sciences and face-to-face interviewing firm FieldWork.

Figures published by the Market Research Society recently showed that the rate of revenue decline in the UK’s market research industry flattened out to just 0.2% in the 12 months to December 2010, compared to 4.7% in the previous year.