Pockets of growth brighten gloomy Top 100 trawl

There is yet another major shift in Design Week’s Top 100 this year, with all the big global groups now prohibited from taking part because of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, which bans the disclosure of unaudited financial data.

Consultancies within the WPP Group, Interpublic Group, Omnicom and Havas stables are omitted from the listings because of the Act. Meanwhile, independent events specialist Imagination, which topped the Top 100 last year, was unable to submit figures in time to be included in the survey.

The upshot is that branding and packaging group Design Bridge now holds pole position, with fees of £8.34m billed through its UK business. The consultancy, which has offices in London and Amsterdam, ranked seventh last year with fees of £9.15m, some 8 per cent up on the latest total.

Second and third slots are held by Corporate Edge and Jones Knowles Ritchie respectively.

Fees were down overall this year, the Top 100 groups reporting a collective total of £253.06m for the 12 months to end-December 2003, compared with £399.9m for the previous 12 months. Turnover was also down, from £627.27m reported last year to £351.54m.

Despite the downward trend, some groups achieved growth last year and expect more this year. These include: Newcastle group FPP Design, The Nest, Nucleus – which predicts 100 per cent growth – and Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner Met Studio Design.

All DW readers were invited to take part in the Top 100 trawl. The findings were verified by accountant Amanda Merron of Willott Kingston Smith, who also analysed the results.

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