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Blue Apron Shrinks Loss - Board Completes Strategic Review

Blue Apron shares drop as the meal-kit company reports a narrower third-quarter loss and the board completed a review of strategic alternatives.

Blue Apron shares dropped after the New York meal-kit producer reported a narrower third-quarter loss and said it expected a fourth-quarter loss. 

And the company said the board completed a review of strategic alternatives it had announced in February.

The shares at last check were down 27% at $4.77.

The third-quarter loss narrowed to $15.3 million, or 96 cents a share, from $26.2 million or $1.99 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue rose 13% to $112.3 million from $99.5 million.

"Our third-quarter operating results, including the 13% year over year net revenue improvement, exceeded our guidance reflecting continued momentum," said Chief Executive Linda Findley Kozlowski in a statement.

Average revenue per customer exceeded $300 for the second consecutive quarter, Kozlowski added. For the latest quarter, this figure rose to $314 from $258 in the year-ago period.

The company cut product, technology, general and administrative expenses by 5% year over year, to $33.7 million from $35.3 million, in part due to the closing of its facility in Arlington, Texas, in May. 

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The pandemic both required -- because of government-ordered lockdowns -- and prompted people to stay home and cook instead of going out to restaurants.

"While the company believes that a portion of the increased demand it has experienced over the last few months can be sustained through the end of this year and potentially beyond, this will likely occur at varying levels as the impact of the pandemic changes over time," the company said.

Kozlowski maintained that while challenges with labor availability have hurt Blue Apron's ability to address all the increased demand, she expects some capacity constraints to continue through year-end. "We are using the fourth quarter to continue implementing optimizations across our fulfillment centers," she said.

"We believe these efforts will position us to more effectively address demand and enable us to drive increases in customers and revenue forecasted for the first quarter of 2021,” said Kozlowski.

“In light of the company’s recent equity financing and debt refinancing and continued improvements in the business resulting from both the company's growth initiatives and the positive impact on demand from the covid-19 pandemic,” the board completed its strategic review, Blue Apron said.

The directors and management “will continue to evaluate and look for opportunities in the ordinary course to enhance shareholder value.”

For the fourth quarter, assuming similar historical seasonal demand and cost trends, the company expects to incur a net loss of no more than $15 million.

Blue Apron expects Q4 net revenue to grow 15% to 19% year over year to $108 million to $112 million.