EBay Marketplace Sales Struggle Amid Amazon Rivalry

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EBay Inc. reported second-quarter sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates amid competition from Amazon.com Inc. and competing retailer websites on the eve of its breakup from transaction business PayPal.

Revenue advanced to $4.68 billion, EBay said Thursday in a statement, compared with the analysts’ average estimate of $4.49 billion. Sales decreased 3 percent to $2.1 billion for the online marketplace unit. PayPal revenue topped sales from the online marketplace unit for the second consecutive quarter.

Investors are eager for any indication about how EBay will perform on its own after PayPal begins trading as a separate company on Monday. The online marketplace has struggled with sluggish sales and user growth after a data breach last year forced customers to change passwords. EBay also suffered from reduced traffic after Google Inc. altered its search engine.

“There is a lot of concern that between Amazon and retailers going online, EBay’s competitive challenges are getting worse and not getting better,” said Gil Luria, analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles.

E-Commerce Growth

EBay attracts 157 million buyers to its site and handles more than $80 billion in annual sales volume. The San Jose-based company last year announced plans to spin off PayPal following pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, who said the slow-growing marketplace was holding back the payments business.

Global e-commerce sales will hit $1.59 trillion this year, up 21 percent, according to EMarketer. EBay’s marketplace sales growth has lagged behind that pace so far this year, coming in at 7 percent in June, 6.6 percent in May and 5.8 percent in April, according to e-commerce consultant ChannelAdvisor Corp.

EBay issued full-year forecasts for the soon-to-be separate companies. The online marketplace predicted earnings of $1.72 to $1.77 a share, excluding some items. Sales will grow 3 percent to 5 percent excluding currency effects.

PayPal, which has 165 million accounts and gets 24 percent of its transactions on EBay, estimated earnings of $1.23 to $1.27 a share, excluding items, on sales growth of 15 percent to 18 percent.

Shares of EBay fell 0.2 percent to $63.44 on Wednesday. The stock is up 13 percent this year.

(Corrects first, second paragraphs to show sales exceeded estimates when taking discontinued operations into account.)
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