U.S. Markets closed

Shutterfly shares soar on 4Q 50 pct profit growth

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Shutterfly Inc. on Tuesday reported a 50 percent jump in quarterly profit as more customers snapped up its photo prints, photo gifts and stationery during the holidays. The results blew past Wall Street estimates and the online photo service also forecast better-than-expected results for 2013.

Shares surged more than 13 percent after-hours on the report, climbing $4.54 to $38.13 from the day's close of $33.59.

Shutterfly, which owns its namesake photo brand as well as card and stationery brands Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas and Treat, said the number of customers placing orders jumped about 30 percent to 4.2 million in the quarter and to 7.1 million for the year.

Orders in the holiday quarter gained by one-third to 6.9 million, though the amount that customers spent per order was flat at $49.80. For 2012, orders rose by a similar amount to 16.3 million, but the average price of each order was down 2 percent year-over-year.

The holiday quarter accounted for more than half of Shutterfly's full-year revenue.

The results seem to counter concerns about whether there's still a place for Shutterfly services and print photos in general in an era when billions of photos are being shared on Facebook and other social networking services where people congregate online to keep track of their friends and families in virtual scrapbooks.

Shutterfly said its net income rose to $53 million, or $1.40 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $35.4 million, or 97 cents, a year earlier. Net revenue gained 33 percent to $351.8 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.01 per share on revenue of $309.7 million.

The company said revenue from stationery and greeting cards, photo books, calendars and photo-based merchandise, photo prints and related shipping jumped by one-third to $343.5 million. Revenue from direct marketing materials made for business customers grew 79 percent to $8.3 million.

Looking ahead, Shutterfly forecast a first-quarter loss of 39 cents to 42 cents per share on net revenue of $107.2 million to $110 million. For fiscal 2013, the company is predicting earnings of 38 cents to 51 cents per share on net revenue of $739.7 million to $746 million, which would mark about 16 percent sales growth.

Analysts are predicting a quarterly loss of 31 cents per share on revenue of $108.7 million and full-year profit of 46 cents per share on revenue of $707.8 million.