Today Groupon reported its fourth quarter financial performance, including revenue of $638.3 million, and earnings per share of -$0.12. Analysts had expected revenue of $640 million, and earnings per share of $0.03.

At the end of its third quarter, Groupon had anticipated revenue to fall between $625 million and $675 million. In normal trading, Groupon was up nearly 8 percent. In after hours trading, the company has fallen more than 20%.

Groupon’s net loss in the quarter was a painful $81.1 million. Groupon, however, does have a bank of cash and equivalents of over $1.2 billion.

Gross billings for the fourth quarter $1.52 billion, up 24% on a year-over-year basis. The $638.3 million figure was a 30% rise year-over-year. International revenue for the quarter was $263 million, which was down from $312 million in the year ago quarter.

Groupon has rebounded from recent market lows. Its stock has doubled from its lowest point, at which roughly 90% of its public value had been incinerated. The company did take a blow when it retained current CEO Andrew Mason. Some investors had hoped for his ouster. However, a surprise investment from a hedge fund provided fresh confidence.

Among the bad news out today are two points that may give Groupon fans some hope that 2013 could be a better year for the firm: its customer acquisition costs on a per-new-customer basis are down 61% year-over-year, and its total active customer base is up 22% compared to last year.

2012

The company had full year revenue of $2.33 billion in 2012, up 45% when compared to 2011. For the same time frame, Groupon’s operating cash flow slipped 8% to $266.8 million. Final net loss for the year was $67.4 million.

This was a bad, painful quarter for Groupon. It had forecasted a profit. It failed to deliver.

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