November 8, 2012, 4:30 PM

Groupon lays off 80 members of its sales team

The move comes as the daily deal operator announces disappointing financial results.

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Groupon Inc. announced today it has laid off 80 members of its sales team. That’s a small number compared to the daily deal operator’s 6,779-person total headcount. But it still telling that the company is embarking on layoffs and attempting to automate some of its sales functions. “We will always aim to optimize business operations wherever opportunities are identified,” says a spokeswoman.

The move came just before the daily deal operator announced its third quarter earnings that showed gains, particularly in its North American business. However, despite Groupon's gains, its revenue fell short of analyst estimates, particularly since the company’s quarter-over-quarter growth rate was flat.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Groupon reported:

• Revenue increased 32.1% to $568.6 million, compared with $430.2 million in 2011.

• North American revenue of $291.6 million, an 80.6% jump from $161.5 million a year earlier.

International sales of $276.9 million, a 3.1% increase from $268.6 million in 2011.

• Operating income of $25.4 million, compared with an operating loss of $239,000 in 2011.

• A net loss attributable to common stockholders of $2.98 million, compared with a year-ago net loss of $54.23 million

• Gross billings, which reflects the total amount collected from Groupon customers for Groupon vouchers sold, excluding applicable taxes and refunds, were $1.22 billion, a 5.2% increase from $1.16 billion in 2011.

For the first three quarters of 2012, Groupon reported:

• Revenue increased 54.5% to $1.7 billion, compared with $1.1 billion in 2011.

• North American revenue increased 73.6% to $790.3 million, compared with $455.3 million in 2011.

International sales of $905.8 million, a 36.6% jump from $662.9 million a year earlier.

• Operating income of $111.6 million, compared with an operating loss of $218.4 million in 2011.

• A net gain attributable to common stockholders of $13.7  million, compared with a year-ago net loss of $308.1 million

• Gross billings, which reflects the total amount collected from Groupon customers for Groupon vouchers sold, excluding applicable taxes and refunds, were $3.86 billion, a 39.9% spike from $2.76 million in 2011.

"Our solid performance in North America was offset by continued challenges in Europe," says Andrew Mason, Groupon CEO. "Groupon Goods has evolved into a second major category that our customers clearly love. With deals on everything from designer sunglasses to big-screen televisions to most-wanted toys, we think it will be a great gifting destination this holiday season."

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