When Underweight Is Bad for Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers International Inc. (NASDAQ: WTW) shares dipped on Tuesday after one key analyst firm downgraded the stock. While being the biggest loser is touted as a great for most Weight Watchers customers, that’s not the best look for the company.

JPMorgan’s Christina Brathwaite downgraded Weight Watchers to Underweight from Neutral and cut its price target to $25 from $37. That implied downside of 17% from the most recent closing price of $30.28.

Brathwaite previously cut Weight Watchers to a Neutral rating from Overweight on January 11.

One main reason for this downgrade was daily active users (DAUs) on the WW app dropping in what Brathwaite is considering the most important period of the year — New Year’s resolutions. At the same time, she pointed out that website traffic and mobile user data were below expectations.

In the report, Brathwaite said that the U.S. DAU trends have only gotten worse, shrinking 35%, and the WW app reviews have become increasingly negative since the fall of 2018, with users issuing complaints on significant technical issues. Not to mention, competitors Noom and Diet Doctor are continuing to gain traffic share.

On the other hand, it’s acknowledged that there is a chance some of the DAU decline is related to technical challenges in the app and not entirely indicative of lower subscriber numbers.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Weight Watchers had vastly underperformed the broad markets, with the stock down 21% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock was down 59%.

Shares of Weight Watchers were last seen down about 4% at $28.96, in a 52-week range of $27.11 to $105.73. The consensus price target is $72.18.

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