updated 11/2/2004 6:58:14 PM ET 2004-11-02T23:58:14

Priceline.com Inc.’s third-quarter net income rose 2.8 percent despite a dip in revenue.

The Internet retailer late Tuesday posted net income of $10 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with $9.7 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items such as acquisition-related expenses and stock-based compensation, which are considered normal operating expenses under generally accepted accounting principles, the company said it earned $11.3 million, or 28 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had on average projected earnings of 27 cents a share, excluding items.

Revenue fell 3.1 percent to $235.9 million from $243.4 million.

Priceline reported its results after the close of the Nasdaq Stock Market. In extended trading, the shares were down $1.34, or 6.4 percent, at $19.61.

Gross travel bookings rose 44 percent to $432 million. Priceline said gross travel bookings refer to the total dollar value, including taxes and fees, of all travel products purchased by consumers.

Airline ticket unit bookings rose 65 percent, while hotel room night unit bookings grew 27 percent.

Hotel room night unit bookings include bookings of Travelweb, which was acquired in May, and 10 days of results from Active Hotels, which was acquired in September.

Priceline credited its improved results to cost containment, “despite the negative impact of the hurricanes on bookings and cancellations in the Southeast during the quarter,” President and Chief Executive Jeffery H. Boyd said in a prepared statement.

Looking ahead, the company projects fourth-quarter net income between five cents and nine cents a share, and earnings, excluding items, of 14 cents to 18 cents a share.

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