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Groupon Unveils New Features Seeking Turnaround

Groupon Inc. unveiled a redesigned website and new mobile applications, seeking to attract more customers and turn around the online-deals provider.

Eric Lefkofsky, a co-founder who took over as chief executive officer in August, has been rolling out new features and refocusing the Groupon daily coupon company to a service offering thousands of discount promotions at once, available any time via the Web or smartphones.

Scott Devitt, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a report today that there are signs of a turnaround, including deals growth in North America and improvement in billings in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Groupon is due to report quarterly earnings Nov. 7 and is projected to post a loss of $14.3 million on revenue of $616.1 million, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“A buying opportunity,” Devitt, who is predicting revenue of $619 million, wrote. “Long term, Groupon shares offer one of the most asymmetric risk-rewards in our sector.”

Groupon’s shares climbed 8.7 percent to $9.93 at the close in New York, and have more than doubled this year.

Lefkofsky, who jostled with co-founder Andrew Mason and helped to oust him from the CEO role in February, has made it easier for customers to browse and search through Groupon’s tens of thousands of offers.

The website now offers a personalized homepage with curated collections of deals based on each customer’s interests and prior purchases. Its updated mobile software detects when a consumer’s location changes to provide local deals.

Web Deals

“We’ve been on a mission to transform Groupon into this larger marketplace,” Dan Roarty, vice president of product development at Groupon, said in an interview. “This website update is a major step to doing that. Before, it was a lot of work for customers to find specific things. Now we’ve put search front and center.”

Jeffrey Houston, an analyst at Barrington Research Associates Inc., said Lefkofsky is “re-engaged” with Groupon.

“Since he took over, there’s been a handful of changes in the business model and management. The stuff that I’ve seen has been pretty smart,” Houston said in an interview.

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