Wayfair (W -3.67%) rocked the market on Wednesday, delivering Q1 of fiscal 2020 that showed a significantly narrower-than-expected loss for the period, and higher sales.
For the quarter, the home goods and furniture retailer posted net revenue of $2.33 billion, an increase of nearly 20% from the same quarter of 2019. The company's non-GAAP (adjusted) net loss deepened across that span, to almost $217 million ($2.30 per share) from the year-ago deficit of nearly $148 million.
Both headline figures exceeded analyst expectations. On average, prognosticators following Wayfair were modeling $2.31 billion on the top line, and a deeper net loss of $2.60 per share.
Although the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak is hitting the global economy hard, the situation worked to Wayfair's advantage during the quarter. "Millions of new shoppers have discovered Wayfair while they shelter in place at home, and we are seeing strong acceleration in new and repeat customer orders across almost all classes of goods and across all regions," the company wrote in its earnings release.
In terms of operating metrics, the active customer count in the company's direct retail channel rose almost 29% to 21.1 million. Repeat customers were an important part of the revenue base, as they were responsible for placing almost 70% of all orders made during the quarter (up from the 66% of Q4 2019).
As with many other consumer goods companies, because of the unpredictability of the post-coronavirus business landscape Wayfair has chosen to refrain from offering specific revenue or profitability guidance.
Despite the still-considerable net loss, investors seem pleased by this performance. On Wednesday, Wayfair's shares far outpaced the gains of the wider stock market by rising 9%.