Subscription Commerce

Merger, Sale Among Ingredients For Meal-Kit Maker Blue Apron

Blue Apron looks for buyer

After more customer losses and financial dips, Blue Apron is exploring strategic options going forward that might include putting itself up for sale, according to published reports Tuesday (Feb. 18).

The New York-based meal-kit maker may also merge its business with other, similar ones in order to save money.

Shares for Blue Apron rose 12 percent in the wake of the news, hitting $4.37.

Chief Executive Linda Kozlowski said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that she was confident their strategy of trying to reach new customers in whatever ways possible would be a fruitful one, though she did not comment further on the strategies the company was exploring.

The meal-kit company grew in popularity because of its signing up of new customers in 2012 for kits of ingredients for meals. The company was once valued at close to $2 billion and had more than a million users, but it struggled to hold onto that momentum since it went public in 2017.

The company said its customer count had fallen to 351,000 for the fourth quarter and it recorded a loss for that period.

Part of the problem has been a competitive field, with newer players offering better options and expanding their operations. HelloFresh surpassed Blue Apron in terms of the number of customers served in 2018. And retailers such as Kroger and Albertsons, through acquisitions of other meal-kit companies, have grown their own operations.

In an attempt to stave off losses, Blue Apron has cut marketing in recent quarters. The losses were, in part, due to a manufacturing warehouse in New Jersey, where operational problems made it necessary to take action.

The company is also partnering with other entities like Beyond Meat and WW International, which owns Weight Watchers, in attempts to appeal to new customers who want other types of meals.

The company fell short of expectations this quarter with $94.3 million in sales and a net loss of $21.9 million. They had 351,000 customers, which was down from 557,000 the year prior. The company has plans to close a facility in Arlington, Texas, and consolidate operations in New Jersey and California facilities.

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