Why Weight Watchers Is Friday’s Big Earnings Loser

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Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NASDAQ: WTW) reported its third-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Thursday. The company said it had $1.00 in earnings per share (EPS) on $365.8 million in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that called for $0.99 in EPS and $379.7 million in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.65 in EPS and $323.7 million in revenue.

During the quarter, subscribers increased 24.9% year over year driven by growth in all major geographic markets. Also Q3 Digital Subscribers climbed 36.5% and Digital + Studio Subscribers were up 7.5% versus the prior year period.

Separately, total paid weeks in the third quarter increased 24.4% from last year. Digital Paid Weeks leaped 37.1% and Digital + Studio Paid Weeks gained 6.4%.

Looking ahead to the 2018 full year, Weight Watchers expects to see EPS in the range of $3.15 to $3.25. Consensus estimates are calling for $2.99 in EPS and $1.56 billion in revenue.

Mindy Grossman, president and chief executive officer, commented:

Reflecting continued strong consumer response to WW Freestyle, we ended the quarter with 4.2 million subscribers, a record for the third quarter, and up 25% year-over-year. As we expand our mission from being the global leader in weight management to becoming the world’s partner in wellness, we marked a major milestone with our rebranding as WW. We are also enhancing our digital experience in ways that are meaningful to our members’ lives, including through the launch of WellnessWins, our first loyalty and rewards program. We have accomplished a great deal in 2018; however, I believe the true impact of our bold moves will be realized in 2019 and beyond.

Shares of Weight Watchers were last seen down about 28% at $49.50 at 11:14 a.m., with a consensus analyst price target of $106.00 and a 52-week range of $41.15 to $105.73.