REUTERS

(REUTERS)

Groupon Outlook Disappoints, Shares Slide After Hours

Earnings Reuters

Groupon Inc's (GRPN) forecast for first-quarter results fell short of Wall Street's expectations, as the online commerce company has been struggling to rev up sales and profit growth.

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The daily deals and online retail company forecast revenue of $790 million to $840 million in the March quarter, up 13 percent from a year earlier on a foreign exchange-neutral basis.

That lagged Groupon's target for 15 percent growth on the same basis in 2015. It also fell short of an average prediction for $856.14 million.

Shares in the company, which gave the forecasts when it reported fourth-quarter results on Thursday, slid almost 3 percent to $7.24 in after-hours trade.

Investors have focused on Groupon's ability to grow its bottom line.

The company that once dominated the fast-growing online coupons arena reported earnings, excluding one-time items, of 6 cents per share in the crucial holiday quarter, surpassing the 3 cents Wall Street had expected on average.

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But it forecast earnings of zero to 2 cents this quarter, versus an average prediction for 2 cents.

Revenue was up 20 percent at $925.4 million during the three-month holiday period.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by David Gregorio)