How Blue Apron Beat Expectations Despite a Slow Q4

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When Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN) released its most recent quarterly earnings before the markets opened on Tuesday, it managed to beat analysts’ expectations, despite its business slowing during the fourth quarter.

The company said that it had a net loss of $0.20 per share on $187.7 million in revenue. That compares to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for a net loss of $0.27 per share on $185.09 million.

In the fourth quarter, customers decreased by 15% year over year and decreased by 13% quarter over quarter, primarily reflecting the company’s planned decrease in marketing spend.

At the same time, average revenue per customer was $248, up from $246 in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $245 in the third quarter of 2017. Orders per customer remained flat at 4.2, both year over year and sequentially.

The company did not issue guidance for the first quarter. However, the consensus estimates call for a net loss of $0.24 per share on $220.15 million in revenue for the quarter.

On the books, Blue Apron’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $228.5 million at the end of the quarter, up from $81.47 million in the same period of last year.

CEO Brad Dickerson commented:

We are methodically implementing operational improvements to drive our business and are encouraged by the progress we’ve made since last quarter, particularly in margin which contributed to improvement in our bottom-line performance.

He added:

Our top priority remains continuing to drive operational efficiencies that will propel significant improvement in our net loss and adjusted EBITDA in 2018. We also believe there are extensive opportunities to diversify and evolve the business in new ways to expand our reach and deepen our engagement with customers and we are sharpening our focus on these windows of opportunity.

Shares of Blue Apron were last seen up 6% at $3.55 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $5.75 and a 52-week range of $2.94 to $11.00.