Lastminute.com Announces Mixed Figures

[London, ENGLAND] Users up by 800 percent, losses deepen
by 800 percent — that’s the year-on-year progress made
by European late offers retailer lastminute.com, according
to figures released Monday.

In the year ended September 30, 2000, lastminute.com lost
US $51 million and picked up the “Worst U.K. Travel Site”
award from 6,000 readers of the Daily Telegraph.

On the plus side, lastminute.com gained nearly 2.5 million
new subscribers and sold over three hundred thousand items
during the same period.

Not surprisingly, Chairman Allan Leighton chose to look on
the bright side.

“The financial results announced today show solid growth,
against all key metrics, with costs and losses contained
within plan,” claimed Leighton.

He went on to say that lastminute’s acquisition of
France’s largest e-travel group Degriftour makes it
the market leader in two of Europe’s largest e-commerce
markets and enhances its capability to create what he
called “a serious European platform.”

However, Leighton admitted there was still a lot to do
— the only hint in the whole presentation that everyone
at lastminute.com is not entirely happy with the results
for the year.

Investors, perhaps relieved that the losses were not
much worse than expected, showed sufficient confidence
to boost lastminute’s shares by 7 percent in early
trading Monday.

Rightly or wrongly, lastminute.com is seen by many
as a bellwether of the e-commerce economy in Europe.
Its progress almost exactly parallels that of
auctioneers QXL ricardo — in the massive increase
in users, a major European takeover, deepening
losses, and optimistic statements about the future.

The only difference is that investors appear more
inclined to keep faith with lastminute.com than
they do with QXL ricardo.

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