Yelp suffers net loss of $5.3M, sales up 65 percent

Strong quarterly revenue jump from a year ago still not enough to avoid a loss as company loses $5.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
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Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman at a Business Insider conference. Dan Farber/CNET
Yelp lost $5.3 million in the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012 as sales soared 65 percent to $41.2 million.

The company lost 8 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $9.1 million, or 56 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011 when it had $24.9 million in sales. Yelp had been expected to lose 5 cents a share on $40 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate offered by Thomson Reuters.

For the entire year, Yelp's revenue was $137.6 million, compared with $83.3 million in the same period last year. The annual loss also grew to $19.1 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $16.9 million, or $1.10 per share.

In a statement, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman described 2012 as a "tremendous year" for the company:

We completed a successful IPO, launched new products to improve the Yelp experience for consumers and business owners, expanded into new markets while increasing our presence in existing ones, and completed our first acquisition. We believe 2013 will be a tipping point for our brand in Europe as Yelp continues to become a trusted local resource. Our mobile strategy will remain a top priority as engagement increases, and we will continue to focus on the business owner, creating more ways to measure the value of Yelp leads.

On a conference call later in the day to discuss the results with analysts, Stoppelman predicted 2013 would be "a tipping point" in Europe. The company now services 20 countries across Europe, launching in Turkey during the fourth quarter.

However, immediate reaction on Wall Street was more muted, with the stock falling in after-hours trading as Yelp offered first earnings and revenue estimates for the first quarter of 2013. It said that revenue would come in between $44 million and $44.5 million. Yelp also predicted that adjusted earnings would be in the range of $1.25 million to $1.5 million.

Annual revenue Yelp

Coincidentally, Yelp issued another news tidbit separate from its earnings. It said that the service attracted more than 100 million unique visitors to the site in a one-month period for the first time.