Relentless Growth by Wayfair


Market rewards the company for being able to deliver strong revenue growth
99.09% Total Gains by Wayfair So Far This Year


Wayfair has incredibly far exceeded returns of the broader index despite ongoing losses
Wayfair was recently credited as the “Amazon of Home.”  

This could make some sense brought by the company’s unique business proposition for its customers, the online shoppers.

The $6 billion Massachusetts-based e-commerce retailer reported its second quarter results recently. Wayfair reported an impressive 35.8% revenue growth to $2.08 billion in its first half of operations this year while having (-)$95.4 million in losses compared to (-)$89.5 million in the same period last year.
Wayfair recorded 30.9% growth in its operating expenses, which pushed down the company in more losses in the recent period. Included in the growth of its operating expenses was the $50.4 million and $52.6 million increase in advertising; and operations technology, general and administrative expenses, respectively.

“We are pleased to report yet another exceptional quarter with strong momentum in revenue growth and profitability.
“As consumers increasingly embrace the selection and convenience of shopping online instead of in physical brick and mortar stores, we are taking advantage of that shift and capturing market share by offering a truly differentiated, customer-centric shopping experience. From our new Search with Photo feature that allows customers to quickly find exactly the right item in a matter of seconds to our pioneering work in augmented reality technology making it possible for shoppers to see items in their home at scale before they make a purchase, we are reinventing retail and raising the bar on customer experience each and every day. Our Castlegate and Wayfair Delivery Network initiatives are enabling us to delight customers with faster delivery speeds and a seamless shopping experience from start to finish, and we are continuously expanding our product offering across multiple categories including plumbing, flooring, door and cabinet hardware, mattresses, seasonal décor and housewares. All of these developments are resonating strongly with customers, and we are excited to see strong traction for the Wayfair brand and shopping experience across the United States and our international markets in Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. We look forward to entering the second half of the year with tremendous momentum.”
Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair

Wayfair has consistently recorded losses in the past five years, including its recent ten months of operations, therefore, leading to no trailing P/E ratio. Meanwhile, Wayfair had P/B ratio 509.3 times vs. industry median 1.67 times, and P/S ratio 1.53 times vs. 0.7 times (GuruFocus data). Average fiscal 2017 revenue expectations indicated forward P/S ratio of 1.32 times.

Total returns
Despite ongoing losses, Wayfair has provided an outstanding 99.09% total gains for its shareholders so far this year compared with the S&P 500’s 11.29% (Morningstar).

According to filings, Wayfair was founded in May 2002. From 2002 through 2011, the company was bootstrapped by its co-founders and operated as hundreds of niche websites, such as and

In late 2011, Wayfair made the strategic decision to close and permanently redirect over 240 of its niche websites into to create a one-stop shop for furniture, décor and home goods and to build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty and increase repeat purchasing.

From 2012 to 2016, Wayfair aided brand awareness in the U.S. grew from 6% to 77%. Over the last few years, the company also has invested in expanding our international business in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany by building its international infrastructure, growing international supplier networks, and establishing its brand presence in select countries.

Wayfair’s business is in the home goods market with an addressable market size of $270 billion and still growing, of which ~9% is sold online today.

Wayfair is one of the world’s largest online destinations for the home. Through the company’s e-commerce business model, the company offers visually inspired browsing, compelling merchandising, easy product discovery and attractive prices for over eight million products from over 10,000 suppliers.

According to filings, the target Wayfair customer is a 35- to 65-year-old woman with an annual household income of $50,000 to $250,000, whom the company considers to be a mass-market consumer and believes that it is underserved by traditional brick and mortar and other online retailers of home goods.

The company is able to offer this vast selection of products because it holds minimal inventory. Further, products are shipped to Wayfair’s customers directly from its suppliers, or increasingly from the company’s CastleGate fulfillment network, “CastleGate.”

Wayfair’s CastleGate solution enables its suppliers to forward-position their inventory, allowing faster delivery to the customer with lower rates of damage and lowering Wayfair’s cost per order over time.

Wayfair has two operating and reportable segments, U.S. and International.

In the first half, revenue in the U.S. increased by 29% to $1.86 billion (89% of total unadjusted sales) and had an adjusted EBITDA of $24.2 million compared to (-)$3.96 million in adjusted losses a year earlier.

In the first half, Wayfair’s international business grew impressively at 138.9% year over year to $228.6 million and recorded adjusted losses of (-)$47.3 million compared to (-)$41.9 million a year earlier.

Sales and profits
In the past three years, Wayfair registered a revenue growth average of 54.54% (Morningstar).

Cash, debt and book value (equity)
As of June, Wayfair had $203.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $82.73 million in lease financing obligations leading to a leverage ratio of 6.93 times compared to 0.18 times a year earlier. Overall lease obligations increased by $52.8 million year over year while equity declined by (-)$150 million.

Cash flow
In its recent first half operations, Wayfair had (-)$28 million in cash outflow from its operations compared to (-)$26.3 million a year earlier. Capital expenditures including software development costs were $68.2 million leaving Wayfair with (-)$96.2 million in free cash outflow compared to (-)$100 million a year earlier.

The cash flow summary
In the past three years, Wayfair allocated $236 million in capital expenditures, raised $438 million in common and preferred share issuances, generated (-)$34 million in free cash outflow, and provided $69 million in dividends and share repurchases.

Despite being 17-year-old website company, Wayfair still has exhibited relatively consistent high revenue growth rate. With its huge potential addressable market, this could be the reason why the market has exuberantly rewarded the company even without the capacity of generating profits, at least in a coming couple of fiscal years as per analysts estimates.

The company also has remained debt free in the past decade except for its lease financing obligations.

Analysts have an average overweight recommendation on Wayfair shares with a target price of $82.24 a share vs. $69.79 at the time of writing.

High risk-tolerant investors who do not care about Wayfair’s difficulty in generating profits and 509 times book value should consider starting accumulating some of the company’s shares since it is undervalued compared to estimates.

Disclosure: I do not have shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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