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Earnings Results: Yelp beats expectations as diners, advertisers return

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Yelp Inc. said Thursday it saw increased consumer traffic and a return of advertisers in the first quarter as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its business began to subside, narrowing its losses and beating sales expectations.

The platform for consumer reviews of local businesses, and more, said that as pandemic restrictions eased, the number of unique devices that used its app climbed to 32 million in March, an increase of 3 million from January. Yelp
YELP,
-1.29%

also said diners seated via its app rose 20% from the previous quarter.

Yelpshares jumped more than 4% after hours, after falling about 1.3% in the regular session to close at $38.24. 

Referring to a comeback by restaurants, James Miln, senior vice president of finance and investor relations, told MarketWatch in an interview before the company’s earnings call: “From our data, we can see the activity that’s taking place in all of our geographies and we’re really encouraged by what we see.”

He said in places like Arizona and Texas, restaurant activity is back to pre-pandemic levels, and that the company is seeing encouraging trends in the West and South.

Miln stressed that Yelp’s initiatives and adjustments, such as doubling down on self-serve ads, have put the company in a position to take advantage of an economic recovery. “We’re very pleased with the start of the year,” he added.

Other areas of growth: Yelp reported a 15% increase in revenue from its Home Services, and a nearly 30% rise in consumers requesting quotes for services. Though advertising revenue was down year over year, the company said revenue from its self-serve advertising platform was up 30%.

Yelp reported a net loss of $5.8 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with $15.5 million, or 22 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted Ebitda climbed 159% to $43.7 million, beating analysts’ expectations of $27 million. Revenue fell to $232 million from $249.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average had forecast a loss of 26 cents a share on revenue of $228.4 million.

Yelp said it expects second-quarter revenue of $240 million to $250 million and adjusted Ebitda of $35 million to $45 million. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast revenue of $239.6 million and Ebitda of $34.2 million.

The San Francisco-based company also said it expects to return to year-over-year revenue growth for the full year, with revenue of $1 billion to $1.02 billion and adjusted Ebitda of $175 million to $195 million. Analysts had expected full-year revenue of $998.6 million and Ebitda of $166.4 million.

Shares of Yelp have risen almost 16% year to date, and about 65% in the past year, while the S&P 500 Index
SPX,
+0.82%

has increased about 11% so far this year and 45% in the past 52 weeks.

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