Carvana Co.'s meteoric growth strategy played out again in the first quarter as the used-car retailer reported "sustained hyper growth" into 24 more U.S. markets.
The company's net revenue more than doubled for a 21st consecutive quarter, jumping 110 percent to $755.2 million, while total retail unit sales rose 99 percent to 36,766. But profitability remains elusive, as the company's net loss climbed to $82.6 million from a loss of $52.7 million during the same quarter last year.
Carvana reported its results after markets closed Wednesday. The company's shares opened lower but closed up $3.58, or 5 percent, at $75.23 in trading Thursday on Wall Street.
"The first quarter marked several spectacular milestones for Carvana," company CEO Ernie Garcia said in a letter to shareholders. "We delivered another quarter of triple digit revenue growth, entered our 100th market, and successfully completed our first securitization all while continuing to deliver exceptional customer experiences. 2019 is off to a great start. We are energized and remain focused on our goal of selling more than 2 million cars per year."
With its entrance into 24 new markets, Carvana finished the quarter operating in 109 markets. It also added a high-visibility vending machine store in Pittsburgh, bringing its total of those stores to 16 as of March 31. And since then, it entered another 15 markets and added another vending machine in Chicago. The company plans to launch operations in 55-60 markets covering at least 65 percent of the U.S. population by year end.
In the first quarter, the company began operations at its sixth inspection and reconditioning center -- this one in Cleveland. A seventh such center has since come online in Nashville, and Carvana plans to begin construction on an eighth center this year.
The number of vehicles Carvana acquired from customers more than tripled in the period. The company said it sourced "substantially more" vehicles from its customers in the first quarter than any previous one, aided by a TV advertising campaign.
"We are actively enhancing and developing the customer experience for selling a vehicle to Carvana and believe this remains one of our business's largest opportunities," the company said in its letter to shareholders.
Sales of wholesale vehicles, which are primarily sourced from customers, nearly tripled to 6,701 in the period. The number of retail vehicles Carvana sold that were sourced from customers increased to about 14 percent, vs. 6 percent in the year-ago quarter. It was down from 17 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 because of an expected, rapid increase in auction-sourced inventory in preparation for the first quarter, the company said.
The company grew its total gross profit per unit to $2,408, compared with $1,854 in the first quarter of 2018. Retail gross profit per unit was $1,282 in the first quarter, vs. $902 in the year-ago period.