NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Priceline.com, the Internet auction site that allows consumers to suggest prices for items including airline tickets and groceries, reported a smaller-than-expected second-quarter loss Monday.|
The Norwalk, Conn.-based company posted a loss of 1 cent a share excluding one-time items, beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of a 3 cents a share loss and the loss of 10 cents a share reported in the year- ago period.
Including the one-time items, Priceline lost $1.6 million compared with a net loss of $13.9 million a year earlier. On a per share basis, including preferred dividend requirements, the loss was 7 cents a share versus 10 cents in the prior year. Sales more than tripled to $352 million.
In midday trading Monday, Priceline (PCLN: Research, Estimates) shares declined 4-11/16, or 11.7 percent, to 35-3/8.
"We exceeded Street expectations on all of the key metrics," CEO Dan Shulman told a news conference. "Our customer growth, whether you measure it in new customers or loyalty, in terms of repeat customers, is very strong. We firmly believe that we've rounded the final bend and we are in the homestretch towards profitability."
Second-quarter results were driven by new and repeat customers, and sales from expanded product offerings such as long-distance calling services, the company said. The company declined to break out numbers regarding its telecommunications offering, since it was launched just six weeks ago, but will include figures in its next quarterly report.
During the quarter, Priceline said it added 1.5 million new customers for a total of 6.8 million. Schulman said the company sold 1.29 million leisure airline tickets in the quarter and 43,500 room nights from its hotel service. The company also sold more than 429,600 rental car days.
During the quarter Priceline lined up alliances with travel-related companies including Hertz, Avis and Alamo in its rental car sector.
Shulman also said the company will expand during the coming quarters and launch new "verticals" to offer customers products. Also planned for the fourth quarter is Priceline's launch of its B2B services in its small business exchange.
"Priceline is an expansive platform. We are going to continue to significantly invest in our future. We are going to turn this into a global powerhouse; we are going to continue to expand and grow internationally," Shulman said.