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What's 'amazing', cloudy and splattered in red ink? It's quarterly Salesforce results time

Sales bounce by a quarter for Q1... oh the vanity

Just when you’d thought Salesforce had quit its habit of posting quarterly losses, the biz swung back into the red during its first quarter of 2017/18 - on the back of bumper growth.

The biz posted a net loss of $9.2m (£7m) for the quarter, compared with profit of $38.7m (£29.8m) for the three months ended April 2016.

However, first quarter revenue increased 25 per cent to $2.4bn (£1.8bn). Salesforce's deferred revenue for the quarter – the cash it has in the pipeline – was $5bn (£3.8bn), up 26 per cent on the previous year.

Sales in Europe were particularly strong, up 27 per cent to $409m (£314m) for the three months.

In a conference call, chief exec Marc Benioff said he was "personally very excited to be here and share these amazing first quarter numbers."

The cloudy CRM game of balance sheet yo-yo will be familiar to most Salesforce-watchers.

For example, last year the company posted modest profits in all but one of its quarters, whereas in 2015/16 the biz was firmly in the red except for the first three months of the year. Prior to that the company had been primarily loss-making.

The outfit was first set up 18 years ago and now employs 25,000 staff across 25 countries.

It has made a number of big acquisitions over the last year, including splashing $2.8bn (£1.9bn) on e-commerce provider Demandware.

Angela Eager, analyst at TechMarketView, said: "Salesforce rightly deserves credit for maintaining high levels of growth and for constantly evolving and committing to technology developments but it would be nice to see it consistently staying on the right side of the profitability line."

Quite. ®

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