Wayfair (NYSE:W) announced earnings results on Friday for the fourth quarter, which includes the all-important holiday shopping season. The e-commerce specialist met management's short-term growth forecast while posting mounting losses.

A woman shops through her smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

What happened?

Sales increased 26% to $2.5 billion as the chain continued gaining market share in the home furnishings industry. Yet that expansion rate marked a significant slowdown from the more-than-40% boost investors saw in the first half of 2019. Wayfair's growth decelerated in both the core U.S. market and in its relatively new international segment.

The company continued to struggle with surging costs, including in areas like employee headcount and a growing fulfillment infrastructure. These initiatives are supporting sales growth but hurting profits. Fourth-quarter loss was $330 million and Wayfair lost nearly $1 billion for the full year.

What's ahead?

CEO Niraj Shah and his team said they see much more room for growth ahead in the massive online market for home furnishings. They predict that the elevated spending they've done over the last few years will be critical in supporting this project. But the next fiscal year will be characterized by efforts to attack that sales opportunity while also showing progress toward achieving sustainable profitability.

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