It's been easy come, easy go for Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE:APRN) investors over the past two weeks. Shares of the meal-kit provider plunged 20% last week, more than reversing the prior week's 16% gain. The stock would go on to close lower in each of last week's five trading sessions.
The prior week's rally was fueled largely by takeover speculation, so it makes sense that the upticks should reverse themselves as the chatter goes unfulfilled. There wasn't any Blue Apron-specific news breaking during last week's slide. HelloFresh -- Blue Apron's more successful rival -- announced that it became the first meal-kit company to be Safe Quality Food or SQF certified. It's a feather in HelloFresh's cap, but it's not as if most consumers eyeing the growing number of options in this niche know what the SQF certification process entails.
Another news item coming up as a potential reason for Blue Apron's sharp drop was that Prime Day drew attention to Whole Food Market. The organic grocer has been making inroads into the meal-kit market as a way to beef up its already strong prepared foods segment. The Prime Day promo that sent online shoppers scrambling to Whole Foods to score big savings aren't likely to have a long-term impact on Blue Apron's business.
Too many cooks in the kitchen
Last week's retreat still leaves Blue Apron as one of Wall Street's biggest winners in recent months. The stock has soared 81% since bottoming out in April, a big bounce for one of last year's biggest disappointments.
Blue Apron was on the rise before last week's correction despite fundamentals that continue to deteriorate. Blue Apron saw its revenue clock in 20% lower in May's first-quarter report. Analysts see a similar 21% decline when it reports its latest financial results on the morning of Aug. 2.
IPO investors still have a long way to go before being made whole. The stock can triple at this point, and it would still be trading below last year's debutante price of $10. The market is getting saturated, and it's getting harder for Blue Apron to get noticed as larger players throw their hat into this ring.
The next big test for Blue Apron will be when it reports its second-quarter numbers near the end of next week. The stock's big gains over the past three months will have to be validated by a strong performance out of Blue Apron. If the stock's been volatile now on unsubstantiated buyout chatter and a lack of material news, one can only imagine what will happen when it actually has news for the market to digest.