Doubles Sales, Losses

FRAMINGHAM (05/02/2000) - Online bookseller Inc. yesterday reported that sales and losses both doubled for the quarter ended March 31.

Losses totaled $44.2 million for the quarter, compared with $20.2 million for the same period last year, said.

Sales tallied $78.2 million for the quarter, up from $32.3 million a year earlier, according to the company.

Marketing campaigns are hurting, said Andrew Bartels, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.

"The good news is they're continuing to grow revenue," he said. "The bad news is they're heavily investing in new advertising and marketing campaigns, and it's hurting their earnings."

Bartels said the stock market is now focusing on earnings, and will have to cut its advertising. "This will dip into their sales, but it will be valued by the market as a better trade-off," he said.

Other highlights for the New York-based bookseller included:

More than 850,000 customers joined during this period, raising total customers to nearly 5 million as of March 31.

Repeat customer orders jumped to 68.1 percent in the quarter, an increase from 56 percent a year ago.

"Hundreds of thousands of customers" downloaded, for free, Stephen King's Riding the Bullet in March.

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