Preliminary annual earnings at District-based LivingSocial were released Friday morning, offering insight into the deal purveyor’s financial health as it emerges from a significant reorganization under its recently installed chief executive.
The numbers show a company that has grappled in recent years with the erosion of its daily deals business, and the subsequent decisions to lay off workers and pull out of foreign markets. But there are bright spots that speak to the company’s future as CEO Gautam Thakar looks to put LivingSocial back on a path to growth.
Though LivingSocial is a private company, its earnings are reported through Amazon.com because the e-commerce giant owns nearly a third of the business. (Amazon.com founder Jeffrey P. Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013.)
LivingSocial posted a net profit in 2014.
LivingSocial recorded a net profit of $100 million for 2014. That number seems impressive for a company that has struggled financially in recent years, but the results are buoyed in large part by the sale of the company’s business operations in Asia.
LivingSocial sold its successful South Korean business, called TicketMonster, to Groupon for $260 million. That deal closed in January of last year. Several months later, the company sold its operations in Southeast Asia for $18.5 million.
In 2013, LivingSocial had a net loss of $172 million.
LivingSocial’s core business still lost money.
The company’s net loss from continuing operations was $73 million for 2014. That means without the sale of its Asian operations, the business actually lost $73 million last year. And that loss is bigger than the $16 million net loss recorded from continuing operations in 2013.
Dan Federico, LivingSocial’s vice president of finance, said the larger net loss was due to increased expenses related to a corporate restructuring that began in November, as well as increased investment in areas like “marketing, personnel and technology.”
LivingSocial saw revenue decline in 2014.
LivingSocial collected revenue of $231 million for the year, down 23.5 percent compared to revenue of $302 million in 2013.
Revenue also took a hit during the company’s restructuring, but Federico attributed the decline to challenges facing the daily deals and online discount sector overall.
LivingSocial now has more assets than liabilities.
● One figure that has executives bullish is the company’s net assets . They were $21 million for 2014, meaning the company finished the year with more assets than liabilities. That’s a turn from the previous year when the company had net liabilities of $91 million.
That means, essentially, that the company has more flexibility in how its money is spent.
“The assets available to the business provide a healthy financial position allowing us both stability and the opportunity to invest in the future growth of the business,” Federico said.
LivingSocial is attracting new customers.
Among a number of highlights listed in LivingSocial’s news release is this statistic: “First-time buyers were responsible for 20 percent of all Q4 purchases.” That’s a positive sign for a company that will need to attract new customers and win back old ones if it is to see growth again.
LivingSocial tallied 16.4 million unique visitors to its Web site and mobile app during the month of December, according to ComScore, a company that monitors online traffic. That marks a 58.4 percent increase compared to 10.3 million unique visitors in December 2013.
The fourth quarter includes the holiday shopping season that is often beneficial to many retailers’ bottom lines, and LivingSocial is no exception. The company saw a sizeable lift in gross billings on its mobile app during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to the release.
LivingSocial has fewer employees.
Not included in the Amazon.com report is LivingSocial’s latest employee count, which stands at 950 in the United States and 400 in the Washington region, according to the company.
That number shouldn’t come as a surprise since the company announced plans in November to cut about 20 percent of its workforce, including 100 local employees. The company also closed a sales office in Torrance, Calif. that had been opened the prior year.
At its peak, LivingSocial had 4,000 employees globally and 1,000 locally.