One of last year's biggest IPO losers may be on the comeback trail. Shares of Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE:APRN) moved 15.2% higher last week, gaining ground after tapping a new CFO and introducing a new service promotion. There was also encouraging news out of the meal-kit niche leader, potentially boding well for Blue Apron. The stock would go on to inch higher in each of last week's five trading days.
Momentum is on Blue Apron's side since announcing better-than-expected financial results earlier this month. Blue Apron stock has now moved 34.4% higher in May, and is up a whopping 63.4% since bottoming out last month.
Thinking outside the box
Blue Apron getting a new CFO isn't necessarily a big deal. Investors tend to be more worried about when a chief bean counter bolts unexpectedly than excited when a replacement shows up. However, in Blue Apron's case it comes as a relief. Brad Dickerson had been Blue Apron's CFO for two years, but late last year he assumed the CEO role. Tapping Tim Bensley as its new CFO will give Dickerson more time to focus on orchestrating a turnaround at the struggling food service provider.
We're also seeing Blue Apron get more creative in cost-effective ways to draw attention to its brand. Just a few days after teaming up with widely followed celebrity Chrissy Teigen to offer six weeks of meal kits inspired by recipes from her cookbook, Blue Apron announced a series of "Unboxed" pop-up events across the country. Blue Apron is definitely not standing still in its attempt to breathe new life into its business.
The third piece of news that potentially played a small part in Blue Apron's rise last week was news that rival HelloFresh saw its revenue in the U.S. prepackaged meal market soar 44% during the first quarter. HelloFresh boosted its full-year outlook to 30% to 35% in revenue growth. Seeing HelloFresh pull away from Blue Apron -- which itself is coming off back-to-back quarters of double-digit declines in revenue -- may not seem like good news at first. However, it does confirm that the meal-kit market is alive and thriving despite Blue Apron's 20% decline in revenue during the same three-month period.
Things are starting to stabilize at Blue Apron. It had 786,000 customers at the end of March, a 5% sequential dip -- but the average revenue per customer is higher than it was both a year ago and during the prior year's fourth quarter. Blue Apron stock continues to be one of last year's worst-performing IPOs, but the comeback trail has to start somewhere.