News reports a 3.9% increase in Q1 sales despite a decline in web visitors

May 5, 2016 02:49 PM Inc. attracted fewer window shoppers in the first quarter but nearly as many buyers as it did a year earlier, and sales increased 3.9%.Overstock, No. 29 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported sales of $413.7 million during the first quarter, compared with $398.3 million last year. Average order size grew to $177 during the quarter, up 1.7% from $174 last year.

Overall, sales and marketing expenses increased 12.5% during the quarter to $31.5 million, up from $28.0 million last year. But while marketing expenses grew, the number of site visitors and buyers declined.

The web-only retailer attracted 29.2 million unique visitors during the quarter, visitors who came to the site at least once, down 11.2% from 32.9 million last year. Meanwhile, 1.89 million unique shoppers purchased from during the quarter, down only slightly from 1.90 million unique shoppers last year. Overstock plans to invest more in data and search capabilities designed to bring more visitors to its site which will, in turn, drive more revenue, acting CEO Mitch Edwards told analysts on a conference call to discuss the earnings report.

“When people do come to our site, they spend a lot of money,” Edwards said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “It is a rich site with a good assortment. We believe by increasing traffic to the site and bringing in a whole new group of customers to the site that the profitability will fall to the bottom line in a major way.”

Edwards, Overstock’s general counsel and senior vice president, took over as acting CEO last month after founder and CEO Patrick Byrne announced he would take an indefinite medical leave due to advanced hepatitis that has caused liver damage. Edwards reiterated his and the company’s support for Byrne on the call. “He has several times taken medical leaves to fight some fairly serious issues,” Edwards said. “Patrick will come back even stronger than when he left, and we are looking forward to that.”

For the first quarter ended March 31, Overstock reported:

  • Direct revenue, which Overstock defines as orders fulfilled from its own warehouses, of $26.7 million, down 26.0% from $36.1 million last year.
  • Partner revenue, which an Overstock spokeswoman defines as “the revenue from our sales of drop-ship partner products where we are viewed as the seller or merchant of record,” of $387.0 million, up 6.8% from $362.2 million.
  • Orders shipped directly from Overstock accounted for 6.4% of total revenue, compared to 9.1%.
  • Net income of $13.094 million, up 414% from $2.548 million last year. 



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