Blue Apron shares sink as coronavirus order bump fails to boost sales

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Blue Apron shares sink as coronavirus order bump fails to boost sales

Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc (APRN.N) slumped as much as 33% on Wednesday as the meal-kit company posted a steep decline in quarterly sales even after seeing a boost in orders from Americans confined to their homes amid coronavirus-led lockdowns.

The company, which posted results for the three months that ended March 31, said it saw a bump in orders only at the end of the first quarter and added that most of the benefit from a spike in demand will be reflected in the current quarter.

“Even as restrictions on consumer behavior begin to ease, we expect that there will be a shift to new economic and social norms, reflecting the changes in cooking and eating habits developed during the weeks or months consumers spend at home, and these will persist for some time,” Chief Executive Officer Linda Findley Kozlowski said on a post-earnings call.

“We expect that our Q2 results will begin to reflect this increased demand.”

The company expects second-quarter revenue to record a high single-digit percentage growth to about $130 million. [nBw5tCHrCa]

Shares of the company, which are trading at $9.93, have nearly doubled this year, benefiting from its model that favors social distancing norms with people being required to stay home and as restaurants remained shut.

Blue Apron, which went public in 2017, has been losing ground to competition from established grocers that are bringing out their own meal-kits. Earlier this year, the company said it was considering various options for its business, including going private. [nL4N2AJ40V]

The company said on Wednesday it continues to move forward with the plan.

Orders during the first-quarter fell 29% from a year earlier, while the total number of customers declined to 376,000 from 550,000.

Net revenue fell 28.2% to $101.9 million in the quarter, while net loss widened to $20.2 million, or $1.51 per share, from $5.3 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier, mainly due to higher expenses and the closure of certain fulfillment centers.

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