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California | BRIEFLY / FINANCIAL SERVICES

H&R Block Revenue, E-Commerce Unit Suffer

May 03, 2000|Reuters

H&R Block Inc. reported lower-than-expected tax preparation revenue and said its e-commerce operation sustained losses for the year. The Kansas City, Mo.-based firm, which in mid-June will report its results for its fiscal year ended April 30, said preliminary figures for Jan. 1 through April 17 show tax preparation fees rose 13.2% to $1.082 billion from a year ago. Fees in franchised offices increased 10.7% to $589.2 million, for a total $1.671 billion, or about 12.3% up from a year ago. "It was clearly disappointing. People were expecting a rise of 14% to 16%," said analyst Alexander Paris Jr. of Barrington Research. H&R Block also said start-up costs, product development, marketing, and technical difficulties affecting its ability to generate revenue during tax-filing season will contribute to a pretax loss of about $18 million for its e-commerce unit for the fiscal year. H&R Block shares fell $7.44 to close at $35.13 on the NYSE.

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