Wayfair Beats Estimates on Covid Home-Improvement Trend

(Bloomberg) — Wayfair Inc. reported quarterly financial results that exceeded analysts’ estimates, suggesting the wave of home improvement inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic is lingering.

The Boston-based company, one of the largest online furniture retailers, reported a third-quarter profit of $2.30 a share, excluding certain items. Sales jumped 67% to $3.84 billion, Wayfair said in a statement. Analysts expected earnings of 85 cents a share on revenue of $3.67 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to stay home this year. That’s increased purchases of furniture and other home goods as consumers spruce up their living spaces. Furniture has been one of the last retail categories to move online, but the virus has limited access to physical stores and sent millions of new customers to Wayfair’s websites and apps.



chart: Wayfair has soared as the pandemic drives more online furniture shopping


© Bloomberg
Wayfair has soared as the pandemic drives more online furniture shopping

“Though the initial shock of the arrival of Covid 19 is behind us, consumer behavior in North America and Europe is undeniably changed.” said Chief Executive Officer Niraj Shah, on a call with analysts. Even if brick-and-mortar retail shops eventually return to the market, Shah said he’s not worried that customers will leave. “The runway for Wayfair’s growth is very, very long,” he said, noting that the market for online retail remains underpenetrated in the U.S. and that the home-furnishings category represents an $800 billion opportunity.

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The number of active customers jumped 51%, to 28.8 million, in the third quarter from a year earlier in Wayfair’s direct retail business. Shoppers are spending slightly less per order, however, at $243 compared with $252 during the same period a year ago.

Chief Financial Officer Michael Fleishersaid the company expects “strong growth for the whole of Q4.” But he added that it’s too early to provice guidance on top- and bottom-line targets, since “we remain in a highly fluid environment.”

Wayfair shares were little changed at $255.84 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. The stock has almost tripled this year.

(Updates with fourth quarter comments in fifth paragraph)

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