February 15, 2017, 12:02 PM

A ‘healthier’ Groupon grows its Goods business 2.9% in 2016

Groupon spent much of last year focused on reducing what it calls ‘empty calories’ and netted a 10.5% gain in its gross profit.

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Groupon Inc. spent 2016 focused on reducing what it calls ‘empty calories,’ that is, its low- to negative-margin products that drive short-term increases in revenue but do little to generate healthy, long-term customer behaviors or profits.

The retailer made some strides toward its goal as it boosted its gross profit 10.5% last year to $886 million from $802 million the year before.

"In 2016, our concentrated focus on key strategic initiatives provided a strong foundation for Groupon going forward and resulted in a streamlined global operation, a healthier Goods business, improved customer service and strong customer acquisitions after a successful online and offline marketing strategy," says CEO Rich Williams. "We look forward to continuing to invest in the Groupon brand and unlocking the true potential of our business as we make Groupon the daily habit in local commerce."

The retailer grew its business in the fourth quarter, in part, thanks to its acquisition of former rival LivingSocial. In Groupon’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the retailer revealed that it didn’t pay for LivingSocial.

As part of Groupon’s focus on profits, it plans to shutter its operations in 11 countries early this year.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Groupon, No. 26 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Total revenue of $934.9 million, up 1.9% from $917.2 million a year earlier.
  • North American revenue of $650.8 million up 4.5% from $622.6 million.
  • International sales of $284.1 million, a 13.8% from $249.7 million.
  • Groupon Goods revenue of $607.8 million, up slightly from $602.4 million.
  • North American revenue for Groupon Goods of $421.9 million, a slight increase from $420.1 million.
  • International revenue for Groupon Goods of $185.9 million, a 2.0% increase from $182.3 million.
  • A loss from continuing operations of $50.2 million compared to a $32.6 million loss.
  • A net loss of $52.6 million compared with a year-ago loss of $46.5 million.
  • Gross billings, which reflect the total amount consumers paid for Groupon vouchers, excluding applicable taxes and refunds, stood at $1.699 billion, a 0.5% decrease from $1.707 billion.

For 2016, Groupon reported:

  • Revenue increased to $3.143 billion, up 0.7% from $3.120 billion in the same period a year earlier.
  • North American revenue of $2.152 billion, a 5.1% jump from $2.048 billion.
  • International revenue of $991.6 million, an 8.0% decline from $1.078 million.
  • Groupon Goods revenue of $1.904 million, up 2.9% from $1.850 billion.
  • Operating loss of $183.3 million compared with an $89.2 million loss a year ago.
  • A net loss of $194.6 million compared with a year-ago gain of $20.7 million.
  • Gross billings stood at $6.097 billion, down 2.5% from $6
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