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EBay CEO Says E-Commerce Is Growing 'Stunningly' In Europe

By Drew FitzGerald Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES EBay Inc. (EBAY) Chief Executive John Donahoe said European e-commerce activity has remained robust despite the region's growing economic malaise. Growth rates have held up "stunningly" in Europe, Donahoe said, speaking to a group of analysts and investors at the annual Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference in New York. The head of the online-retail giant attributed high demand to cost-conscious consumers trying to stretch the euro by shopping for deals online. "In the U.K. and Germany and Italy, e-commerce growth rates have been double digits [on a percentage basis]," he said. Donahoe also suggested that investors should be patient with the company's fledgling PayPal point-of-sale business, which aims to capture a slice of the brick-and-mortar retail business by presenting a physical alternative to swiping a credit card. PayPal has selectively rolled out the offering at Home Depot Inc. (HD) stores and other retailers, though Donahoe said eBay hasn't aggressively marketed the product to consumers yet. Still, he said the system offers enormous revenue potential. "If we get 2% share of checkout, it's another PayPal," Donahoe said. EBay shares were recently off 1.3% at $39.09 Thursday amid a broad market decline. The stock has climbed 29% so far this year. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com

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