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Deliveroo first-half losses widen as food delivery firm plans exit from the Netherlands

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A Deliveroo rider near Victoria station on March 31, 2021 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

Losses at British meal delivery firm Deliveroo swelled in the first half of 2022 while revenue growth slowed dramatically, as the disappearance of pandemic restrictions and a rise in the cost of living dented demand for online takeout.

Deliveroo reported a pretax loss of £147.3 million ($178 million) in the first six months of the year, up 54% from the same period a year ago. The losses were driven mainly by increasing spending on marketing and overheads.

Revenues at the company climbed 12% to £1 billion. That was much slower than the revenue growth that the firm reported in the first half of 2021 when sales climbed 82% year-on-year.

Deliveroo’s gross transaction value — which measures overall sales on the platform — grew 7% to £3.6 billion, lackluster growth compared to last year when GTV doubled in the first half. The company blamed the disappointing performance on “challenging market conditions.”

Deliveroo said it is consulting on plans to exit the Netherlands, which would mark the latest exit from a major European market for the company.

The firm, which faces the prospect of much stricter gig economy laws in the European Union, previously retreated from Spain last year and Germany in 2019.

The Netherlands represented only 1% of Deliveroo’s GTV in the first half of 2022, Deliveroo said.

Deliveroo reiterated its guidance for full-year sales growth. Last month, the company revised its target for 2022 GTV growth to a range of 4% to 12%, down from a previous forecast of between 15% and 25%.

Shares of Deliveroo climbed 3% on Wednesday following its results.

Share buyback program

“So far in 2022, we have made good progress delivering on our profitability plan, despite increased consumer headwinds and slowing growth during the period,” Deliveroo CEO Will Shu said in a statement.

“We are confident that in H2 2022 and beyond we will see further gains from actions already taken, as well as benefits from new initiatives.”

Shu added: “We remain confident in our ability to adapt financially to any further changes in the macroeconomic environment.”

The food delivery market has been gripped by the twin challenges of rising inflation and a more outgoing consumer.

People are spending more time dining in restaurants physically as opposed to ordering online while soaring costs for energy and essential goods have made shoppers more cautious about how they part with their cash.

Separately Wednesday, Deliveroo said it would initiate its first-ever stock buyback program, purchasing up to £75 million worth of shares from investors. The purpose of the program is “to mitigate dilution from share-based compensation plans,” Deliveroo said.

Source: CNBC