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Value America a penny short of 1Q estimates

A tenfold increase in first quarter revenue wasn't enough to keep Value America (Nasdaq: VUSA) from losing a bit more than Wall Street forecast.

In first quarter results released after market close Monday, the online retailer posted a net loss of $34.5 million, or $1.45 a share. First Call's survey of three analysts predicted a loss of $1.44 a share.

First quarter sales increased rose 1,173 percent year-over-year, to $28 million from $2.2 million. Revenues gained 48 percent sequentially from $18.9 million in the fourth quarter of 1998, when the company lost $24.7 million.

Value America recorded first quarter charges of almost $10.6 million related to accretion and dividends on preferred stock Net loss per common share, and $19.8 million to account for the difference between the price of preferred shares and common stock. Including those costs, Value America lost $2.72 a share.

The company spent $23.6 million to pay for new technology, advertising and hiring managers, up from $21.7 million in the fourth quarter. Value America saw an operating loss of $21.7 million in the first quarter of this year.

"We are pleased with the results of our first quarter as a public company," said Craig A. Winn, the company's chairman and founder. "Our focus is on building scale and satisfying our customers. We exceeded our expectations in both areas."

Shares of Value America fell 2 15/16 to 29 15/16 in Monday's trading, prior to the earnings report.>