Sea quarterly loss widens after consumers cool online spending

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NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore's Sea Ltd. posted a wider quarterly loss as its revenue growth slowed, underscoring how online gaming and shopping are retreating from pandemic-era heights.

Its net loss in the first three months widened to US$579.8 million from US$422.7 million a year earlier, according to a statement Tuesday. Total revenue climbed 64 per cent to US$2.9 billion, the slowest pace of growth in more than four years.

Sea revised its full-year outlook for e-commerce sales, its main source of revenue, to US$8.5 billion to US$9.1 billion from its previous guidance of US$8.9 billion to US$9.1 billion. The company said in March it expects its gaming arm Garena to post US$2.9 billion to US$3.1 billion in bookings in 2022, set to be its first decline ever.

The results showcase how consumers emerging from prolonged lockdowns are cutting back on online entertainment and purchases, especially with the war in Ukraine and rising interest rates clouding the global economic outlook.

The pandemic triggered a rally in online shopping and gaming shares as consumers spent more time and money online, helping Sea's become Southeast Asia's most valuable company.

But the broader tech selloff, the shutdown of its e-commerce operation in India and disappointing earnings have wiped 81 per cent off its value since a peak in October.

Shares of Sea declined 6.7 per cent in New York on Monday.

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