* Q2 organic sales -1.4%, vs consensus of -3%
* Reiterates full-year outlook
* Shares jump 9% in early trade (Adds CEO quotes, shares)
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - WPP reported better-than-expected trading in the second quarter as a simplified strategy under boss Mark Read helped the world's biggest advertising group win new work from clients including eBay, Instagram and L'Oreal.
Its shares jumped 9% in early trade.
The British company said on Friday its key sales measure - organic growth less pass-through costs - dropped 1.4% in the second quarter, an improvement on down 2.8% in the first three months and compared with an average forecast of down 3%.
That enabled the owner of agencies such as Ogilvy, Grey and Finsbury to reiterate its full-year outlook, a move that was seen by analysts as crucial if the shares were to continue their steady recovery following a turbulent 2018.
"We believe that we have the right strategy," Read told Reuters. "There will be twists and turns on the way but we set out a three-year plan and I would say we're now more confident that it's the right plan."
WPP is in the middle of a major overhaul after the loss of key clients led to several profit warnings in 2018, the same year founder Martin Sorrell quit over a complaint of misconduct, which he denied.
Clients had complained that the company, built by acquisitions and employing more than 130,000 people in 112 countries, was too unwieldy, prompting Read to merge certain agencies such as JWT with its digital outfit Wunderman to give a more joined-up offering.
WPP has also sought to improve its creative firepower in North America following a particularly weak spell. Read said good progress was being made in the United States, and while sales there were down 5.3%, that was an improvement on the 8.5% drop in the first quarter.
For the first half year as a whole, group sales were down 2%, enabling it to reiterate its full-year guidance for a drop of between 1.5% and 2%.
The trading news will provide a boost to the company and to Read, a company veteran tasked with rebuilding WPP after shares fell almost 60% between a peak in March 2017 to March 2019. They are up 12% since then.
After losing part of its contract to supply Ford, one of its biggest customers, it has recently won work from Centrica, InterContinental Hotels and Eurostar.
The improved performance also stands in contrast to French rival Publicis, which cut its 2019 revenue growth guidance after it endured a weak second quarter.
U.S. rival Interpublic said in July it could see increased headwinds in the second half and Read said he was aware of the potential for a tougher economic environment in the year ahead. (Reporting by Kate Holton Editing by James Davey and David Holmes)