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Blue Apron reports major loss despite customer growth

Blue Apron cooked up a major loss in its first quarter as a publicly traded company, and the stock is getting burned again.

The meal-kit delivery service said it lost 47 cents a share in the second quarter, far wider than Wall Street’s forecast of 30 cents a share.

And although Blue Apron grew its customer base by 23 percent since last year, it saw a 9 percent drop in customers over the last quarter as the company went through with a planned rollback in its marketing expenses.

Blue Apron shares, which had surged 7.4 percent to close at $6.24 on Wednesday, tumbled as much as 19 percent, hitting a record low of $5.03 in Thursday morning trades.

“We are beginning a new chapter as a public company, and remain focused on our long-term strategy to build an iconic consumer brand, develop a more diverse product portfolio, and further build out an end-to-end supply chain platform,” CEO Matt Salzberg said in a statement Thursday.

Nevertheless, investors sent Blue Apron shares tumbling as management gave a bleak outlook for the second half of the year on a call with analysts. The gloomy forecast is due to Blue Apron lowering its marketing spend as it works to get its Linden, NJ, packaging facility fully up and running.

“We are focused on only generating incredible returns on our marketing,” management said on the call.

The company fears that continued delays in getting the Linden facility fully up and running will translate to a weak experience for first-time customers.

“Success of Linden is extremely important,” Salzberg said, noting the complexity in training thousands of workers at the new facility.

New York-based Blue Apron recorded $238.1 million in revenue, up 18 percent from a year ago and slightly higher than analyst targets of $235.8 million.

Nevertheless, Blue Apron struggled mightily even before it made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on June 29. The company slashed its IPO price by more than a third on the heels of the Amazon-Whole…

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