Garden.com posts smaller-than-expected loss in 2Q

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Shares of Garden.com (Nasdaq: GDEN) slipped 1/8 to 10 3/16 Monday even though the online retailer of gardening products and services topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter.

In the quarter, Garden.com lost $7.2 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $3.6 million.

First Call consensus expected it to lose 51 cents a share in the quarter.

The $3.6 million in sales represents a 200 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.1 million, or $2.11 a share, on sales of $1.2 million.

In the quarter, Garden.com's gross profit margin increased to 27.1 percent, compared to gross margin of 23.3 percent for the same quarter of the previous year.

Company officials said cumulative customer accounts reached 144,000 at the end of the quarter, an increase of 226 percent from the year-ago quarter. Repeat customer orders represented 48 percent of orders during the second quarter, up from 38 percent in the same quarter of the previous year.

"We are especially pleased with the results of this quarter," said CEO Cliff Sharples in a prepared release. "Garden.com successfully hit the mark on key company objectives, achieving strong growth, improving gross margin and maintaining operational excellence -- and we didn't have to spend significant marketing dollars to get there."

Its shares hit an all-time high of 24 1/8 shortly after its September initial public offering before falling to a low of 7 1/2 earlier this month.

All four analysts tracking the stock maintain "buy" recommendation.

First Call consensus expects it to lose $2.35 a share in the fiscal year.