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OpenTable Falls as Analyst Sees Sales Drop: San Francisco Mover

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OpenTable Falls as Analyst Sees Sales Drop
OpenTable Inc. signage is displayed at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. OpenTable dominates the market for reservations in the U.S., with more than 17,700 restaurant subscribers. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- OpenTable Inc., the largest U.S. online restaurant-reservation service, fell the most in two months after Barclays Plc issued a report that said the company may post its first-ever sequential decline in revenue.

OpenTable dropped $4.20, or 9.3 percent, at the close in New York. The shares have decreased 51 percent in the past year through today.

Second-quarter revenue may fall to $38.5 million from $39.4 million in the previous three months, Mark May, an analyst at Barclays, said today in a note. May also lowered his estimate for reservations made through the service in the period to 29.5 million from 31.4 million. OpenTable is paid for each table it seats at a restaurant, which means reservation revenue will fall in tandem, he said.

“We’re stepping to the sidelines as our quarterly checks suggest OpenTable continued to see soft seated diner growth,” said May, who downgraded the company from “overweight” to “equalweight” today. “We now believe the company’s 2Q12 results could come in below consensus forecasts and could result in OpenTable posting its first sequential revenue decline on record.”

OpenTable’s revenue may slow after traffic to casual-dining restaurants fell 3.9 percent in May and has been declining since March, May said. The average analyst estimate for sales in the current quarter is $39.5 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

OpenTable, based in San Francisco, dominates the market for reservations in the U.S., with more than 17,700 restaurant subscribers, and may reach 19,500 in 2012, James Dobson, an analyst at Benchmark Co., said in an e-mail. Eateries pay the service about $1 for each seated diner whose reservation was made through OpenTable.com and its partners, such as Yelp Inc., and 25 cents for each table booked through a restaurant’s own website, Dobson said.

Restaurants also can pay for OpenTable’s computer system, which lets them manage table inventory and maintain a profile of customers who have dined there, on top of other fees.

Francesca Touma, a spokeswoman for OpenTable, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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