May 4, 2016 / 11:22 AM / a year ago

Canada's Shopify forecasts bigger loss, shares fall

The logo of Shopify hangs behind the Canadian flag after the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange May 21, 2015. Picture taken May 21, 2015.Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - Canada's Shopify Inc SH.TO (SHOP.N), a maker of software that helps retailers set up and manage online stores, forecast a bigger operating loss for the year, due to higher compensation expenses.

The company, however, posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the first quarter as its revenue rose 3.6 percent from the preceding quarter, due to tie-ups with companies such as Facebook Inc (FB.O).

Shopify's U.S.-listed shares, which have risen more than 80 percent since their IPO in May, fell as much as 9 percent on Wednesday.

The company said it expects a bigger 2016 operating loss of $41 million-$47 million, compared with a previous forecast of $36 million-$42 million.

Analysts said shares were down because of profit-taking, or as investors offloaded some shares because they have become expensive.

The company, founded in 2006, has been expanding aggressively and its workforce has risen eightfold over the last three years.

Shopify increased its revenue forecast by about 5 percent for the year to $337 million-$347 million.

"They have taken the revenue guidance up impressively, or quite a bit, but they did not do anything to the full year operating loss," said Raymond James analyst Terry Tillman.

Shopify's software helps sellers provide live customer support, send order confirmations and shipping updates through the Facebook messenger platform.

Shopify, which went public in May last year, has also struck deals with companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Uber [UBER.UL], with which it has a tie-up for same-day deliveries.

"Mobile orders from Shopify merchants surpassed those of desktops in February, and have continued to climb since," said Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke.

Shopify had said last week it will start providing cash advances to customers in the United States seeking financing.

Net loss widened to $8.9 million in the quarter from $6.3 million, in the preceding quarter.

Excluding items, Shopify posted a loss of 6 cents per share, smaller than the average analyst estimate for a loss of 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Ottawa-based company posted a revenue of $72.7 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $66.9 million.

Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto and Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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