Updated from 7:51 a.m. EDT


(OSTK) - Get Report

sales and first-quarter loss roughly doubled from a year ago, as the company's technology and marketing costs offset fattening margins. The online store also said sales in April have been sluggish.

Shares were recently down $2.09, or 5.5%, to $35.91.

Overstock lost $4.2 million, or 21 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $2.2 million, or 14 cents a share, last year. Revenue was $165.9 million in the 2005 period compared with $82.1 million a year ago. Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 12 cents a share on revenue of $142.4 million, according to Thomson First Call.

Overstock's release contained the typically down-home discussion of results from Patrick Byrne, in which the CEO says of the loss: "I suggest no pithy metaphor to guide your thinking about this. I overspent in marketing by 1%-2% of sales, but I believe we can cut this back and still grow."

Regarding $2.6 million of marketing expense, Byrnes copped to "a large binomial marketing experiment that failed. It has been killed as of mid-April." The lengthy discussion of Overstock's results also referenced several technology expenditures "that will stay and increase our G&A."

Overstock reported a gross margin of 15% in the first quarter, up from 10.3% a year ago. "We think there are still basis points to be added in shopping margins," Byrne said, adding that the company "might pass some of these dollars to consumers in the form of lower prices if it saves us more dollars in marketing than we pass on."

Byrne said he was excited about the doubling in revenue but added, "I must mention that April got off to a sluggish start."