* Third-qtr adjusted loss $0.04/share vs est. $0.05/share
* Revenue rises 33.4 pct to $68.1 mln
* Apparel business revenue declines 8 pct
* Forecasts current-quarter revenue of $75 mln-$77 mln
By Rohit T. K.
Nov 19 Chinese online retailer LightInTheBox
Holding Co Ltd reported a bigger quarterly loss after
its operating costs rose 50 percent and sales of its wedding and
prom dresses declined, sending its shares down as much as 23
The company said its current-quarter profit margins would
also be hit by a switch toward cheaper, off-the-shelf clothing
that fetches lower prices than its customized wedding dresses.
LightInTheBox forecast fourth-quarter revenue within a range
of $75 million to $77 million, below the average analyst
estimate of $83.1 million.
LightInTheBox's apparel business delivers the biggest profit
margins for the company. But sales from that portion of the
business - only the second-biggest revenue contributor - fell 8
percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.
Facing tough competition from cut-price wedding retailers in
the United States, the company said in August that it had placed
"too much emphasis" on its high-end products.
On Tuesday, the company said the average order size for the
third quarter had dropped to about $43 from more than $50. Apart
from clothing, the company sells gadgets, small accessories and
home and garden products.
"Traditionally, we have been very strong in customized
apparel such as wedding and special occasion dress, which has
much higher gross margins," Chief Financial Officer Zheng Xue
said on a post-earnings conference call.
"Nowadays, we are offering more ready-to-wear, standard-size
products. These tend to have lower gross margins."
The company, which went public in June, said it expected
sales of its wedding and special occasions apparel to recover by
the second quarter of 2014, because more people prefer to marry
during the spring and summer.
Most of LightInTheBox's customers are located in Europe and
the Americas. Xue said the company, which competes with industry
behemoth Alibaba IPO-ALIB.N, planned to set up more warehouses
outside China to reduce shipping costs.
LightInTheBox reported a third-quarter net loss of $2.4
million, or 4 cents per share, excluding items, compared with a
net loss of $1.0 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Revenue rose 33.4 percent to $68.1 million.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 5 cents per
share on revenue of $70 million, according to Thomson Reuters
Total operating expenses rose to $33 million.
Shares of the company were down 21 percent at $7.89 in
afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Aditi Shrivastava; Editing by Robin
Paxton and Kirti Pandey)