Groupon posts first profit in Q1

Daily deals site finally sees profit in first quarter 2012, compared to previous quarterly losses, while revenue and user base continues to grow.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Daily deals site Groupon has finally made its first quarterly profit in the first three months of 2012 along with higher revenue. The stellar numbers have sent its stock jumping some 18 percent.

In a press statement Monday announcing its financial results for first quarter 2012, Groupon said it clocked an operating income of US$39.6 million compared to an operating loss of US$117.1 in the same quarter last year. Revenue was US$559.3 million, marking a 89 percent year-on-year increase from US$295.5 million in 2011.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said in the statement: "We are pleased to report a record quarter that demonstrates our progress in unlocking the opportunity in local commerce for merchants and customers worldwide."

The company said it had 36.9 million active customers in the first quarter, a 140 percent increase year-on-year, and served more than 100,000 unique merchants. It also noted reduced marketing spend which fell 25 percent in the first quarter, while adding customers. This boosted its earnings.

For its second quarter 2012 outlook, Groupon said revenue was expected to be between US$550 million and US$590 million, an increase of 40 percent to 50 percent over second-quarter 2011. Profit was expected to be between US$25 million and US$45 million, compared to a loss of US$101 million in the second quarter 2011.

According to a report by Reuters, following the announcement of its financial results, Groupon's stock jumped about 18 percent on Nasdaq before reaching US$13.80 in after-hours trading. That figure, however, was still below its stock debut price of US$20 in November 2011.

Groupon's first profit gain also comes after a slew of business obstacles including a struggled entry into the Chinese market, criticism over its revenue reporting, and concerns regarding the sustainability of its business model.

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