Shopify reports slower growth in vendor sales, shares fall 7 percent


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A decorative mailbox covered in stickers is seen at Shopify’s headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) – Shopify Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, but a slowing rate of growth in total sales by vendors using the ecommerce company’s software sent its U.S.-listed shares down about 7 percent before the bell.

Shopify said gross merchandising volume rose just 54 percent compared with a 65 percent jump in the same period a year earlier.

Shopify, whose software enables merchants to sell everything from infant formula to cosmetics online, has been investing heavily to boost its market share by introducing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality based applications.

Shopify AR, for instance, helps shoppers to view 3D models to assess whether the purchase of furniture, among others, will fit in a particular physical space.

The company’s operating expenses rose 53.4 percent to $195.2 million in the fourth quarter.

Shopify said its net loss narrowed to $1.5 million, or 1 cent per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from about $3 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.

Overall revenue rose to $343.9 million from $222.8 million.

Excluding items, the company earned 26 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 20 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Arun Koyyur

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