August 12, 2009, 12:00 AM

The Knot finds the recession means tough times for engaged couples

While merchandise sales at The Knot, an e-commerce and media web site that targets engaged couples, grew 14% in the second quarter from a year earlier, it was mainly due to an acquisition, the company reports.

The recession isn’t preventing couples from getting married, but it is putting a lid on their spending. While merchandise sales at The Knot Inc., an e-commerce and media web site that targets engaged couples, grew 14% in the second quarter from a year earlier, it was mainly due to an acquisition, the company reports in its Q2 financial results.

  • Merchandise sales totaled $8.1 million in the second quarter vs. $7.1 million a year earlier.
  • Total net revenue, which includes merchandise, online advertising and sponsorships, gift registry services and publishing, grew 2.8% to $29.5 million from $28.7 million a year earlier. Registry and publishing revenues declined from a year earlier.
  • Net income fell 26% to $1.7 million from $2.3 million a year earlier. Operating income was $3 million vs. $2.8 million a year ago.

“We are pleased that our diversified business model has enabled us to deliver growth in revenue and operating income in the midst of a challenging economic environment. However, visibility for our business remains limited,” says CEO David Liu. “Macro-economic conditions continue to negatively impact our local wedding vendors, retail clients and national advertisers, creating a challenging climate for our media business and unpredictable results for our retail-dependent revenues. We do not anticipate a general recovery anytime soon; therefore, our priorities will remain focused on closely managing our expenses as we continue to roll out our product and operational enhancements over the remainder of the year.”

For the first six months, The Knot, No. 345 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Net revenue of $53.2 million, up 1.3% from $52.5 million a year ago. Merchandise sales were $13.3 million vs. $11.7 million a year earlier. Advertising revenue was up slightly while registry and publishing revenue were down.
  • Net income of $403,000 vs. $2.9 million a year ago. Operating income was $758,000 vs. $2.6 million a year earlier.

The company also reports:

  • It launched 25 niche web sites in June, bringing the total to 160 niche sites launched since January, with a goal of 200 sites by year-end. The sites are designed to increase exposure for local advertisers. In June, the niche sites generated an incremental 17% more visits to local media.
  • Also in June, the company launched a Facebook application called Mommyhood, which is designed to enable pregnant women and new moms to connect with other mothers on Facebook. It racked up 200,000 users in its first two months.
  • It also launched a 12-week series called The Knot LIVE, a weekly magazine-format wedding show that broadcasts live, streaming video on TheKnot.com every Wednesday at noon Eastern time.

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