Aided by a $32 million income tax adjustment, Monster Worldwide reported it earned $33 million or 27 cents a share. Without the tax benefit Monster earned 1 cent a share, beating the Street’s guess the company would just break even.
Revenue, however, was $215 million, $8 million below what analysts expected. Sales in North America continued their recession-fueled decline, dropping 39 percent from the same quarter a year ago, and down from the $102 million in Q2 of this year. International sales were off 41 percent from the prior year, but off only 4.4 percent from the $89 million posted in Q2. An unfavorable exchange rate took a $7.4 million bite.
Monster eked out the small profit by tightening expenses. Salary costs were off almost $24 million as compared to the same quarter last year. Marketing and promotion was down $10 million, and another $12 million came out of administrative costs.
During the conference call with analysts, held before the market opening this morning, Iannuzzi reiterated his emphasis on controlling expenses, but warned that he expected little improvement in revenue or profit during the current quarter. Sales, he said, would be flat or slightly down. That’s typical of the October to December quarter for all recruitment advertising; employers cut back on hiring during this period to limit year-end expenses and also because of holiday distractions.
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Monster’s stock price was off about 4 percent in afternoon trading, selling for just under $16 a share.
Bloomberg News blamed the sales decline for the stock drop, quoting Mark Marcon, a Milwaukee-based analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co., saying, “They are one of the few employment-related companies that reported worse-than-expected revenue.”
CareerBuilder, a privately owned company, reported its North American sales at $135 million, the same revenue the company reported for the previous quarter. CareerBuilder voluntarily reports only its North American revenue, but not international sales or any expenses.