January 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

eBay reports 12% drop in Q4 gross merchandise sales

Gross merchandise volume, the total value of goods other than motor vehicles sold through eBay`s e-commerce sites, fell 12% to $11.47 billion for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, eBay said. The number of stores on eBay’s sites declined 3% to 516,000.

Gross merchandise volume, the total value of goods other than motor vehicles sold through eBay Inc.’s e-commerce sites, fell 12% to $11.47 billion for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $13.12 billion in the year-ago period, eBay Inc. said.

For the full year, gross merchandise sales excluding motor vehicles reached $48 billion. Vehicle sales amounted to $11.65 billion. The combined $59.65 billion is virtually unchanged from the previous year`s $59.35 billion.

EBay’s marketplace unit, which consists of eBay.com, comparison shopping site Shopping.com, ticket site StubHub.com, classified ad site Kijiji.com and other e-commerce sites, posted a combined 16% year-over-year drop in Q4 revenue, to $1.27 billion. EBay attributed the decline to the impact of a strengthened U.S. dollar on global sales among a general slow-down in the global e-commerce market. EBay’s marketplace revenue is based on the listing and transaction fees the company collects from sellers on its e-commerce platforms.

The number of stores on eBay’s sites declined 3% year-over-year to 516,000 in Q4. The number of Q4 active users (excluding users of the company’s Half.com, StubHub and Korean subsidiary Internet Auction Co.) rose 4% to 86.3 million, the company said. EBay defines active users as those who have bid on, bought or listed an item with the prior 12-month period.

EBay’s payments unit, which includes the PayPal third-party online payment system and the deferred billing system Bill Me Later, which eBay acquired last November, posted an 11% year-over-year increase in Q4 revenue to $623 million, as the company’s total value of payment transaction volume for the quarter rose 14% to $15.99 billion, eBay said.

The total value of Q4 motor vehicle sales fell 26% year-over-year to $2.18 billion from $3.11 billion.

Overall, eBay posted a 7% decline in Q4 revenue to $2.04 billion from $2.18 billion a year ago, as net income fell 31% to $367 million from $531 million.

For the full year, the company reported an 11% rise in total revenue to $8.54 billion from $7.67 billion a year earlier. GAAP net income for the year rose to $1.78 billion from $348 million a year ago. The year-ago figure factors in a goodwill impairment charge of $1.39 billion. GAAP stands for generally accepted accounting principles followed by U.S. publicly held companies.

Non-GAAP net income, which doesn’t include one-time charges in each year, rose 7% to $2.25 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, from $2.11 billion the prior year.

EBay’s percent of total revenue from international markets outside of the U.S. rose slightly in Q4, the company said. International revenue accounted for 54 % of total revenue in the quarter, up from 53% a year ago, it said.

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