Alibaba’s revenue thumps despite stable growth due to COVID lockdown

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(Reuters) – China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Thursday beat market expectations for revenue in the quarter to end June, although growth was flat for the first time due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

U.S.-listed shares of the e-commerce giant rose 5% in trading before the bell.

China locked down dozens of cities between April and May as the infectious variant of Omicron raged, with cities such as its largest and most cosmopolitan hub Shanghai facing the toughest curbs that crippled delivery intra and intercity.

In Shanghai, for example, for most of April, households were unable to place orders from Taobao or, Alibaba’s e-commerce and food delivery sites, and instead relied on the government and the roundabouts for food and supplies. The delivery situation improved only slightly in May.

The lockdown was lifted on June 1, just in time for China’s annual June 18 shopping festival. However, the festival did little to boost overall activity in the quarter.

“After a relatively slow April and May, we saw signs of recovery across our business in June. Despite short-term challenges, Taobao and Tmall continue to achieve high consumer retention, especially among consumers with higher purchasing power,” the company said.

Revenue was 205.56 billion yuan ($30.43 billion) in the quarter, versus an average analyst expectation of 203.19 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv data.

Net profit attributable to common shareholders for the quarter ended June 30 was 22.74 billion yuan, up from 45.14 billion yuan a year earlier.

($1 = 6.7557 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)