Online auctioneer eBay Inc. posted a 22 percent rise in first-quarter on Wednesday, beating analyst expectations, with its revamped website adding buyers for the first time in a year and favorable currency rates.
The San Jose, Calif.-based Internet auction leader reported per-share profit of 42 cents, topping Wall Street analysts by 3 cents. Profits were up 27 percent from the year-ago quarter.
Including the expense of stock options, eBay said it earned $460 million, an increase of 22 percent from the same period one year ago.
Almost 84 million people used eBay across the world in this years first quarter and 647 million products were listed. Sales rose 24 percent from the year-earlier quarter to $2.19 billion, beating estimates.
This was a very strong financial quarter for the company, eBay's chief executive, John Donahoe said in a statement.
EBay also raised its 2008 outlook, projecting sales of $8.7 billion to $9 billion and earnings per share of $1.70 to $1.75, excluding special charges. In January, it forecast its earnings per share of $1.63 to $1.67 on sales of $8.5 billion to $8.7 billion.
While we are raising our full-year outlook, we still remain cautious about the economic environment, Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan told investors on a conference call following the report on Wednesday.
We saw a slowing in terms of buyers' propensity to buy toward the end of the first quarter, Swan said.
Donahoe said eBay sellers had responded to pricing changes and boosted its customer service by increasing the volume of new auction listings during the last six weeks of the first quarter.
As a results, buyers are trusting eBay more, he said. The online auction also has begun offering discount coupons to reward frequent top buyers.
The company is also benefiting from a growth in international buyers who are looking for deals in its U.S. auction site. Such trade brought in 18 percent of quarterly revenue as eBay serves as a substitute for discount shopping expeditions to popular cities in the U.S. by tourists.
Almost a fifth of our trade is cross-border, Donahoe said. We saw a lot of buyers in Europe buy on the U.S. site because of the weakening U.S. dollar.