Groupon revenue rises, but still disappoints Wall Street

The daily deals site reports revenue of $568.6 million, but falls short of analysts' $590 million estimate.

Although Groupon's revenue is up 32 percent from last year, it is still getting crushed by investors for not making as much as expected.

The daily-deals company today reported revenue of about $568.6 million in its third quarter, up from $430 million the same time last year. The company narrowed its net loss dramatically, to just under $3 million from $54 million a year earlier, and it broke even on a per share basis. And yet the revenue and profit figures fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $590 million and earnings of 3 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

The stock, which closed at $3.92 today, is now down more than 13 percent in after-hours trading. That's a decline of more than 80 percent from the $20 at which the company offered shares in its initial public offering a year ago.

At its height, Groupon was one of the superstars of the tech industry, charging along on a mission to become the fastest-growing company in history. Since February, however, the company has been plagued by slumping stock, a shareholder lawsuit and rumored unrest from employees trying to leave the company.

The company also announced today that laid off about 80 people from its sales team this week, as part of its ongoing efforts to streamline its marketing efforts by replacing sales people with software.

Groupon employs more than 12,000 people worldwide, so the recent layoffs are only a small fraction of the workforce, but there may be more coming as the company continues to transition.

"Groupon announced several months ago it would be using technology to increase productivity through automation," a Groupon spokesperson said in an e-mail to CNET. "This week we reduced the sales team by approximately 80 members as part of that effort. We will always aim to optimize business operations wherever opportunities are identified."

The current quarter doesn't hold much better news for Groupon. The company expects to pull in revenue between $625 million and $675 million, which would be an increase of between 27 percent and 37 percent from last year. The company expects operating income in the quarter to come in somewhere between zero and $20 million -- less, in any event, than the $25.4 million operating income it posted in the third quarter.

 

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