Groupon’s Q1 Results: Beats With $601.4 Million In Revenue, Stock Up 11% In After-Hours Trading

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Groupon just reported its earnings for its first financial quarter of 2013. The company, which is still looking for a new CEO after the ouster of Andrew Mason in February, posted a $0.01 loss per share but says its non-GAAP EPS, excluding stock-based compensations, was $0.03. Its revenue was significantly higher than expected with $601.4 million in sales, compared to $0.02 earnings per share (EPS) on $559.3 million of revenue in the year-ago quarter.

Wall Street clearly likes these numbers. The stock is already up over 11 percent and currently trading around $6.23.

The expectation among financial analysts was that the company would report a year-over-year sales growth of 5.3 percent and an EPS of $0.03 on revenue of $588.92 million for this quarter (with a very optimistic high estimate of $618.5).

Last quarter, Groupon reported $638.8 million revenue, buoyed by a strong holiday season, but the company still posted an operating loss of $19.9 million and a loss per share of $0.12.

“We are encouraged by our results, as our local revenues accelerated and our margins improved over the prior quarter,” said Eric Lefkofsky, Chairman and co-CEO of Groupon. “We had record mobile performance as 45 percent of our North American transactions came from mobile in March, and more than 7 million people downloaded our apps in the quarter.”

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One of the main indicators for Groupon’s health has long been gross billings – a reflection of how much money the company has collected from its customers for Groupons it has sold. Last quarter, gross billings increased 24 percent to $1.52 billion. Gross billing for this quarter was $1.41 billion, and the company says it has $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

In the last quarter, Groupon also reported that it had 41 million active customers, up 22 percent quarter-over-quarter and that it was handling about 37,000 active deals at any given time. In the last quarter, Groupon says the number of active customers grew to 41.7 million – a 13 percent year-over-year growth but just a minor increase from the last quarter.

Groupon has obviously been through a somewhat tumultuous time recently. The company’s ouster of CEO Andrew Mason after a number of disappointing quarters, however, seems to have brought some stability back to the company. Its share price remains low, though it’s up from its all-time low of $2.60. Currently, the stock is trading at around $5.60.

After Mason’s exit, Lefkofsky and vice chairman Ted Loensis were appointed to the company’s newly created Office of the Chief Executive as interim CEOs. The company has yet to announce a permanent replacement for Mason.

From the release:

First Quarter Operating Highlights

  • Global units: Consolidated units, defined as vouchers and products ordered before cancellations and refunds, increased 4% year-over-year to 45 million. North America units increased 37%, and International units decreased 18%.
  • Active deals: As of March 31, 2013, the number of active deals in North America increased to nearly 40,000, compared with nearly 37,000 at the end of the fourth quarter 2012.
  • Active customers: Active customers, or customers that have purchased a Groupon within the last twelve months, grew 13% year-over-year, to 41.7 million as of March 31, 2013, comprising 18.2 million in North America, and 23.5 million in International.
  • Customer spend: Trailing twelve month billings per average active customer decreased to $138 from $144 in the fourth quarter 2012, related primarily to seasonal strength in the fourth quarter holiday period.
  • Mobile: In March 2013, 45% of North American transactions were completed on mobile devices, compared with nearly 30% in March 2012. In the first quarter 2013, more than 7 million people downloaded Groupon mobile apps worldwide.
  • Marketplace: The rollout of Groupon’s marketplace (”Pull”) continued to gain momentum, as email accounted for less than 45% of North American transactions in the first quarter 2013.