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Groupon's full-year revenue forecast below views, hit by dollar

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Groupon Inc forecast full-year revenue well below analyst expectations on Tuesday, hurt by a stronger dollar and weaker-than-expected billings, a key metric reflecting the gross amount collected from customers.

[BENGALURU] Groupon Inc forecast full-year revenue well below analyst expectations on Tuesday, hurt by a stronger dollar and weaker-than-expected billings, a key metric reflecting the gross amount collected from customers.

Groupon, which once dominated the fast-growing online coupons arena, has been struggling to rev up sales and profit as it battles stiff competition from smaller companies as well as online giants such as Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc.

In April, the company agreed to sell a 46 per cent stake in its South Korean business as part of its turnaround efforts.

Chief Executive Eric Lefkofsky told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday the company will evaluate alternatives that would help unlock shareholder value in countries where Groupon questions its long-term strategic positioning, as it did in Korea. "

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(We) will.. allocate time and resources in countries and businesses where we think we can win," he said The daily deals and online retailer, which gets 160 million visitors globally per month, saw a drop in active customers to 48 million as of March 31 from 54 million as of Dec 31, 2014, due to the stake sale in Korea and seasonality factors.

Mr Lefkofsky said the company aims to double the number of deals over the next year so that Groupon always has deals on offer within its top categories.

Groupon forecast 2015 revenue of between US$3.15 billion and US$3.3 billion, below the US$3.53 billion analysts on average were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which got about 36 per cent of total revenue from outside North America in the first quarter, said it expected changes in foreign exchange rates to hurt its year-over-year revenue growth rate by 700 basis points.

Groupon reported gross billings of US$1.55 billion for the first quarter, well below the average analyst estimate of US$1.86 billion, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

The company expects to sustain low to mid double-digit growth in its North America local business, where it sells daily deals, for the rest of this year. The other segments the company operates in are consumer goods and travel.

Net loss attributable to Groupon narrowed to US$14.3 million, or 2 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31, from US$37.8 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 3 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of a profit of 1 cent per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose to US$750.4 million from US$728.4 million.

The company's stock fell 2 per cent to $6.70 in extended trading.

REUTERS

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