Home goods retailer Wayfair Inc (NYSE:W) reported yet another loss Tuesday morning, this time in its fiscal second quarter. But whether Wayfair makes money is almost irrelevant at this point. What has been driving W stock right now is its consistent streak of rising revenues — and the possibility that the breakneck growth will entice a bigger fish to swallow Wayfair whole.
With Wayfair’s latest results coming in hot, we might finally be close to that point.
So don’t sweat Wayfair’s inability to turn a profit. Also don’t sweat Tuesday’s quick decline in W stock, which reversed some pretty convincing premarket optimism. Instead, keep one eye on the M&A potential.
Wayfair’s Second Quarter
Wayfair in its most recent quarter reported a loss of 45 cents per share on a GAAP basis — 12 cents better than the year-ago period — and 26 cents once adjusted for certain items. That latter item was far better than analyst calls for 46 cents per share.
The GAAP loss is still significant, but unsurprising given that the company has been reporting them for years. The company simply doesn’t make money, but the thinning red ink is at least encouraging.
Wayfair does, however, have an enviable top line.
Wayfair’s revenues jumped 42% year-over-year, to $1.12 billion, following a 28% surge in sales last quarter and continuing a persistent 30% to 40% growth ramp since coming public in 2014. It’s these kinds of rates in a niche area of the online retail world — home furnishings — that should have other retailers salivating.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is on a multiyear binge of other retailers’ lunch. However, while Amazon has decimated the likes of HHgregg and Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), while a buyout of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) was enough to make the grocery industry tremble and while and mere trademark filing sent Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) to the mat, Wayfair’s not just standing … it’s thriving.
Despite Tuesday’s declines, W stock sits near all-time highs. That’s because Wayfair’s specialty in home goods, as well as its differentiated retail model, continues to bring in consumers and excite investors — something most mall retailers aren’t doing anymore.
Amazon’s chief rivals have started to arm themselves to take on Bezos & Co. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) beefed up its online presence by purchasing Jet.com and several other online retailers, while PetSmart recently plunked a massive $3.35 billion for Chewy.com.
For retailers — say, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) or Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) — whose online operations have struggled to keep up, Wayfair could be a godsend. Especially considering the focus on home goods.
Even Better When You Look at the Tech
What makes Wayfair an even more juicy acquisition is its technological profile.
Last year, Wayfair introduced a proprietary augmented reality application called WayfairView. The 3D app lets shoppers place and manipulate 3D visual models of furnishings in the shopper’s homes. This builds on W’s View In Room app — which does the same thing, but in 2D — as well as its professional IdeaSpace virtual reality application.
In addition to these efforts on the consumer side of tech equation, Wayfair has continued to beef-up its warehouse and logistic tech efforts as well. Since it doesn’t own the inventory itself, Wayfair operates its warehouse and large parcel network as a third-party logistics company for suppliers. In doing that, it has added a bunch of just-in-time applications, cross-docking and other tech add-ins to cut costs, reduce delivery times and improve margins.
In other words, Wayfair isn’t just another dot-com retailer. It might be one of the most advanced e-tailing operations out there that isn’t Amazon.
Buy W Stock for the M&A
Wayfair is down today on its earnings report, but considering the stock’s breakneck gains in 2017, that’s no surprise. That also doesn’t take away from what was a great second quarter.
Wayfair has what other struggling retailers want — growth. It doesn’t matter what Wayfair is making money; that will come, as Amazon and other successful online operators have proven.
W stock is a speculative M&A buy, with some retailer almost sure to gobble up Wayfair and its $6.6 billion market capitalization. Brick-and-mortar retail is starved for growth, and Wayfair is one of the few avenues out there that doesn’t look like an easy kill for Amazon.
As of this writing, Aaron Levitt did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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