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Groupon stock up after 1Q revenue beats estimates

CHICAGO (AP) -- Online deals site Groupon Inc. posted a smaller loss and higher-than-expected revenue in the first quarter as its customer base grew.

Its shares rose 10 percent in extended trading.

Groupon booked a loss of $4 million, or 1 cent per share, in the January-March period. That compares with a loss of $11.7 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 3 cents per share. This figure excludes stock compensation expenses and other items.

Revenue grew 8 percent to $601.4 million from $559.3 million.

Analysts, on average, were expecting adjusted earnings of 3 cents per share on revenue of $591.3 million, according to a poll by FactSet.

The quarter's operating expenses fell 11 percent to $357.8 million from $400.1 million, due mainly to sharply lower marketing costs.

For the current quarter, Groupon is forecasting revenue of $575 to $625 million. Analysts were expecting $616.7 million.

The company said its number of active customers — those who had bought a deal within the past 12 months — grew 13 percent to 41.7 million as of March 31. In March, Groupon said 45 percent of its North American transactions were completed on mobile devices, up from nearly 30 percent in March 2012.

"We are encouraged by our results, as our local revenues accelerated and our margins improved over the prior quarter," said Eric Lefkofsky, chairman and co-CEO, in a statement.

Groupon fired Andrew Mason, its quirky founder and CEO, in late February — a move that had been anticipated for months given growing concerns about the company's financial and stock performance.

Shares of the Chicago-based company rose 58 cents to $6.17 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed up 20 cents, or 3.7 percent, at $5.59. It is up 15 percent so far this year, compared with a 14.5 percent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.