Groupon shares slip 2% as Q1 outlook disappoints

Workers at Groupon
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Workers at Groupon

Groupon easily topped Wall Street's earnings and revenue expectations on Thursday, but its forecast for first-quarter results fell short of expectations, as the e-commerce company struggled to boost growth globally.

Citing the unfavorable impacts of foreign exchange rates, Groupon said it expects revenue of between $790 million and $840 million, below estimates of $856 million.

Its profit outlook was dismal too. It forecast a range from break even up to 2 cents per share, while analysts currently expect earnings of 2 cents per share.

After the earnings announcement, Groupon's shares fell 2 percent in after-hours trading.

The company posted fourth-quarter profit of 6 cents per share, up from 4 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue increased 20 percent to $925 million from $768 million.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 3 cents a share on $908 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The daily deals site has worked to expand its global presence and now operates in 47 countries.

Last quarter, the company said gross billings, basically the total dollar value of customer purchases through the site, increased 39 percent, year over year, worldwide. Excluding North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, gross billings grew some 155 percent, year over year, driven, in part, by its $260 million acquisition of Ticket Monster.

Groupon had forecast fourth-quarter sales between $875 million and $925 million, which was lower than it projected earlier due to the negative impacts of foreign exchange rates, according to its third-quarter earnings release. It also forecast adjusted earnings per share in the range of 2 cents to 4 cents a share.