JD.com posts quarterly loss as costs rise, revenue growth slows

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A man stands outside JD.com’s headquarters, amid the Singles' Day shopping festival, during an organised tour in Beijing, China, November 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/

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March 10 (Reuters) - JD.com (9618.HK), posted a quarterly loss on Thursday as its operational costs surged, and reported its weakest revenue growth in six quarters amid slowing consumer spending, sending shares in the Chinese e-commerce firm down 6% in premarket trade.

The slowdown in the world's second-largest economy has taken a toll on its e-commerce sector, as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.

Last month, rival Alibaba posted its slowest revenue growth for the same period since going public in 2014.

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The sector has also grown increasingly crowded, with entrants such as Pinduoduo (PDD.O) and ByteDance capturing market share in China.

"We are still in the midst of many changes and uncertainties, and the competitive landscape in China is ever-evolving and can sometimes be intense," JD.com president Xu Lei said on an earnings call.

JD.com, which sells everything from home appliances to luxury goods, said general expenses rose 89%, primarily due to the increase in share-based compensation expenses.

The online retailer, which enjoys a competitive edge over its rivals due to its investments in supply chain and logistics, said fulfillment costs were also up 10.7%.

Net loss attributable to shareholders for the fourth quarter was 5.2 billion yuan, compared to a profit of 24.3 billion yuan last year.

Net revenue rose about 23% to 275.9 billion yuan ($43.64 billion) in the fourth quarter, while analysts had expected revenue of 274.45 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue from JD Retail, the unit that accounts for a majority of the company's revenue from its website, retail partnerships and retail stores, rose nearly 21%. The logistics business saw revenue jump about 28%.

The company generated net revenues for the full 2021 calendar year of 951.6 billion yuan ($149.3 billion yuan), up 27.5% from 2020.

($1 = 6.3218 Chinese yuan)

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Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Vinay Dwivedi and Mark Porter

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