AMSTERDAM : Online food ordering and delivery service Just Eat said on Wednesday orders increased by 25per cent to 266 million in the third quarter, with growth weakest in the United States.

The total number was slightly worse than expected by analysts at ING bank, who had forecast orders to rise 35per cent from a year earlier to 287 million.

Growth in Britain, the company’s largest market was 51per cent, but weakest in the U.S., its second-largest, at just 3per cent.

“With most of the world returning to pre-pandemic life, our growth in the third quarter of 2021 has remained strong. Just Eat is well-positioned for autumn and winter, our traditional growth season,” Chief Executive Officer Jitse Groen said in a statement.

Takeaway completed its US$7.3 billion acquisition of U.S. peer GrubHub in June, and GrubHub Chief Executive Matt Maloney said last week he intends to leave in December.

Addressing the U.S. performance, Just Eat Takeaway said it has started “an improvement programme re-focusing the company on GrubHub’s strongholds.”

In August, GrubHub suffered a setback when New York City, its largest U.S. market, capped the commissions it and rival companies can charge restaurants to use their platforms at 15per cent of food orders for delivery.

Takeaway competes with Uber Eats, and Door Dash, in the U.S., and Deliveroo and Delivery Hero in Europe, among others.

The company on Wednesday repeated its full-year forecast for an EBITDA loss of 1per cent-1.5per cent on a gross transaction value of 28 billion euros 28-30 billion euros (US$32.34 billion-US$34.65 billion) for 2021, or a loss of 280-380 million euros.

In August, Takeaway reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 190 million euros for the first half, but said it expected that number to improve in the second half.

Gross transaction value, a common measure for e-commerce companies, increased by 6.8 billion euros or 21per cent, bringing the 9-month total to 20.9 billion euros.

Takeaway shares closed at 63.29 euros on Tuesday, down 30per cent in the year to date.

(US$1 = 0.8657 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Kim Coghill)

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