Warby Parker reported a challenging fourth quarter as the omicron variant slowed its in-store traffic.
The eyeglass company, which went public last fall, also disappointed analysts with weak guidance for 2022. It said fewer customers came in for eye exams and to try on new eyeglasses in early January, but that things had begun to pick up in recent weeks. It projects its stores will get back to 100% productivity before the end of the year.
“We remain as confident as ever in our long-term growth plan in a reacceleration of our growth in the coming months,” co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa told analysts on the company’s earnings call.
Warby Parker opened 40 new stores in 2021. It expects to open the same number this year, bringing its total store count to 201 locations.
The company reported a net loss of $45.9 million, or $0.41 per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $4.3 million, or $0.8 a share, in the year-ago period. It attributed the wider losses to a $31.6 million increase in stock-based compensation expense and other related employer payroll taxes.
Revenue rose 17.8% to $132.9 million from $112.8 million a year ago.
Warby Parker’s net revenue for the full year increased 37.4% to $540.8 million compared to 2020 and increased 46.0% compared to full-year 2019. Its full-year net loss increased $88.4 million to $144.3 million, primarily as a result of the increased SG&A costs.
E-commerce represented 46% of Warby Parker’s total revenue in 2021, down from 50% in 2020, but up from 35% in 2019.
The company noted that, during 2021, the average revenue per customer increased 13.0% year over year to $246. It also opened a second in-house optical lab, strengthening its vertically integrated supply chain and became the first public benefit corporation to go public through a direct listing.
“Despite the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, our 2021 performance reflects the strength of our brand, our unique value proposition, and the resilience of our highly engaged team as we continue to deliver long-term sustainable growth,” said co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. “As we turn the page to 2022, we’ve never been more energized by the possibilities in front of us.”
Co-CEO Gilboa said that Warby Parker is emerging from the pandemic “in a position of strength.”
During 2021, our business grew significantly, expanded profitability, and gained share,” he added. “From broadening our glasses, contacts, and exam offerings to opening 40 new stores and introducing first-to-market digital tools, this year we look forward to solving more problems, delighting more customers, and creating even more value and impact for our stakeholders.”