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Groupon Finally Earns a Profit, Stock Shoots Up 18%

Groupon gets the ball rolling in the right direction for the first quarter of 2012

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Groupon Finally Earns a Profit, Stock Shoots Up 18%
[ Business]

Groupon has shocked Wall Street with their first ever profitable quarter. Their first quarter 2012 financial report is in and things are looking really good. Revenue has increased almost 90% and they brought in $559.3 million as compared to only $295.5 million at the same time in 2011. Gross billing for the quarter reached $1.35 billion which is a 103% increase over last year, which came in at $688.2 million.

Operating cash flow also increased dramatically at 367% to $83.7 million, which sounds really great if you compare it to last years $17.9 million. non-GAAP cash flow amounted to $70.6 million. Net loss attributable to stockholders improved to $11.7 million, which actually reflects a loss of $0.02. This is good news because last year in quarter one they lost $146.5 million or $0.48 per share. Other losses include a net of $34.6 million in tax expense, or $0.05 per share. Non-GAAP earnings per share attributable to common stockholders for the first quarter 2012 improved to $0.02.

Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon comments on the results of their first quarter earnings in 2012:

“We are pleased to report a record quarter that demonstrates our progress in unlocking the opportunity in local commerce for merchants and customers worldwide,”

Here are the highlights Groupon has listed on their financial report for this Q1 2012:

* Rapid acceleration of North American revenue growth. North American revenues grew 75% year-over-year and accelerated sequentially faster than they have since the first quarter of 2011. North America’s continuing growth was due in part to technology innovations such as deal personalization that Groupon plans to introduce to the majority of its international operations by the end of this year.

* Strong consumer and merchant satisfaction. Groupon commissioned ForeSee, a leading market research firm, to assess merchant and customer satisfaction using their standard methodology. Groupon’s March 2012 U.S. consumer satisfaction score of 83 places the Company among the highest surveyed and within approximately 2 points of the 5-year #1 average satisfaction score for online retailers. Groupon’s March 2012 U.S. merchant satisfaction score of 79 also ranks high, considerably above the B2B benchmark of 64 and the Fortune 500 score of 69.

* New customer milestone. As of March 31, 2012, Groupon surpassed the 35 million active customer mark, ending the quarter with 36.9 million active customers, an increase of 140% year-over-year.

* New merchant milestone. The first quarter 2012 marked the first time that more than 100,000 unique merchants were served in a single quarter. In addition, in the first quarter, more than 50% of offers were with merchants who had previously run on Groupon.

* Merchant tools gaining momentum. Groupon Rewards continues to expand. During the past two months, more than 30% of eligible daily deal merchants in pilot cities signed up for the program. Early results suggest that Rewards customers are more loyal than other customers. Groupon Scheduler has also seen early success, with more than 2,500 merchants signed up to date.

* Growth in mobile and Now! In April 2012, nearly 30% of North American transactions were completed on mobile devices, compared with 25% in December 2011. This growth has created momentum for Groupon Now!, which recently surpassed 1.5 million Groupons sold. Now! achieved this milestone faster and within fewer markets than the daily deals business.

* Increased leverage from marketing spend. In the first quarter 2012, approximately the same number of customers were added as in the fourth quarter 2011, while marketing spend decreased by 25%. At the same time, the number of repeat purchasers grew 1.5 times faster than the number of unique purchasers.

Of course these profits caused the stock to surge up 18% on Monday, but even with the renewed interest in holding shares of Groupon, the stock still remains about $20 cheaper than its initial offering price. Still, there’s hope that this quarter is just an indicator of things to come for Groupon.

You might recall that Groupon welcomed some new addition to their board of directors earlier this month. Daniel Henry, chief financial officer at American Express, and Robert Bass, vice chairman at Deloitte LLP, joined the team in order to bring some welcome financial expertise to operations.

These additions combined with Andrew Mason’s vision for the future of Groupon and local commerce may be the path to success investors have been hoping for. We’ll keep you updated as things continue to evolve over at Groupon.

Groupon Finally Earns a Profit, Stock Shoots Up 18%
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