Groupon Gets Big Push from Earnings Report

By Steve Anderson May 09, 2013

Groupon's earnings report made an appearance yesterday, and the word from the market was a very happy word indeed. Following Groupon's earnings report, which met or exceeded expectations on several key fronts, Groupon's stock price got a 15 percent boost almost immediately. But what kind of numbers could make buying Groupon stock that big a priority?

The Groupon report featured several key numbers that drove something of a feeding frenzy on Groupon stock, which is (as of this writing) off its earlier highs but still quite a bit better off than it was. Revenue beat expectations soundly, bringing in $601.4 million over an expected $588.92 million. Earnings per share were, meanwhile, coming in as expected at $0.03. Second quarter guidance appears to be right on track, with the range at $575-$625 million, and $616.14 million expected.

Further reports from Groupon indicate that strong North American business is offsetting a weaker international picture, which is a little out of the ordinary these days, but certainly welcome nonetheless. The international sector actually lost 18 percent for Groupon, but the North American sector brought in fully 42 percent revenue growth over the same time last year. Additionally, mobile is increasingly a major part of Groupon's success, with seven million users downloading the apps in the quarter, and nearly half--45 percent--of all transactions coming from mobile devices.

Cash flow, the measure by which many businesses are best considered by some standards, saw some notable figures as well. While free cash flow--a non-GAAP measure--was down in the first quarter of 2013 at negative $5.7 million, free cash flow for the year ending March 31, 2013, was looking sound at a total of $94.7 million. Operating cash flow for that same period, meanwhile, was $191.9 million.

Customer spending was down a bit between the first quarter of 2013 and the last quarter of 2012, but not by much. The average active customer's billing dropped from $144 to $138, and much of this is said to be due to the difference in holiday strength. But the number of active customers--those who have purchased a Groupon offer in the last 12 months--has grown up 13 percent, reportedly, to 41.7 million, with 18.2 million worth in North America alone, and the remaining 23.5 million classified as "International."

This all adds up to a reasonably sound picture overall for Groupon. Sure, there are sales losses going from the holiday shopping season to the quarter immediately following same. There's a reason it's called "Black Friday," after all. But by like token, this is a reasonably sound picture for now. Groupon is going to have to keep this momentum going in order to really get anywhere and prove to investors that Groupon isn't just good when buyers are out in force. That international picture also has a potential to cause trouble for Groupon down the line, so shoring up sales efforts abroad would likely pay dividends both for Groupon and for its shareholders.

Still, it's a good day for Groupon, and it may well carry on like this with a healthy dollop of vigilance and a push to keep bringing out the best deals, and the best value proposition, to its user base.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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