) -- Mother's Day flowers have come to represent a fierce battle between traditional bouquets and those made of fruit.
In the frenzy to avoid disappointing mom, most people will resort to sending flowers from one of the biggest names in the industry,
But the company is in a five-year search-volume decline and is quickly losing market share in the Mother's Day gift market. Meanwhile,
, which sells fruit arranged in bouquets, is aggressively grabbing market share and shows no signs of slowing.
1-800-Flowers' stock price sank 28% over the past year, while the
S&P 500 Index
has gained 30%.
1-800-Flowers has had to battle a slew of new competitors such as Edible Arrangements, which isn't publicly traded, and traditional rivals including
Teleflora launched a scathing ad campaign slamming 1-800-Flowers' quality by featuring a box of dead flowers.
The fall of 1-800-Flowers has been borne out in
The following pages illustrate the decline and the matching deterioration of the company's stock price.
As the chart shows, the flower-delivery business is based on two holidays, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. The spikes on the chart represent Google searches that correspond to those events generated with Google Trends, a free Google analysis tool.
Over the past few years, 1-800-Flowers has been slowly losing ground over its traditional competitors. Edible Arrangements has come on to the scene and dominated search activity, helped by its novel product offering.
1-800-Flowers is becoming an also-ran in the Internet-search game. While that may not directly translate to actual page views or sales, as the next page shows, the correlation between search activity and stock prices is remarkable. Google Trends can be a valuable asset in evaluating market presence and general interest in a consumer product or service.
The average search volume for 1-800-Flowers peaked around 2006 and has been sliding ever since. That's also when Edible Arrangements started to rise in its business and search performance.
Nearly hand in hand, 1-800-Flowers' stock price has collapsed following the decline in search activity. That's because, presumably, the decreased search interest has led to a drop in revenue, which reduces the value of the company.
1-800-Flowers is being assaulted on all fronts.
It's taking heavy damage from Edible Arrangements, which is undeniably cooler than traditional flowers, and it's also facing stiff competition from other Web-based flower companies that have, at best, fragmented the Mother's Day flowers market and, at worst, dealt a death blow to 1-800-Flowers by improving on the business and capitalizing on boxed flowers' drawbacks, like the fact that they sometimes arrive dead.
-- Reported by David MacDougall in Boston.
Prior to joining TheStreet Ratings, David MacDougall was an analyst at Cambridge Associates, an investment consulting firm, where he worked with private equity and venture capital funds. He graduated cum laude from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in finance and is a Level III CFA candidate.