If you're looking for one of last year's worst IPOs -- knock knock -- it might be Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE:APRN) at your door. Shares of the meal-kit provider have surrendered 88% of their value since going public at $10 two summers ago. The stock is falling sharply for the fifth month in a row, and investors are bracing for what will likely be another grim quarterly report after Wednesday's market close.
Blue Apron stock hit an intraday low of $1.02 late last month, and all it might take for the shares to start fetching pocket change is another lousy financial update. Investors aren't holding out for much. They expect more red ink and another double-digit decline in revenue. The thinning ranks of hopeful shareholders are waiting for a turnaround, but before that, they just need the stock to bottom out.
Analysts see the fizzling foodie checking in with $157.2 million in revenue for the third quarter, 25% below where it landed a year earlier. Seeing sales go the wrong way isn't a shock. It will be Blue Apron's fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit-percentage declines on the top line.
Bears will be quick to point out how a similar scenario crushed the stock last time out. Shares of Blue Apron plummeted 24% the day after second-quarter revenue plummeted by a similar 25%. The stock made back roughly half of those losses the next day on an encouraging analyst note, but the chances of another Wall Street pro stepping up if this is another quarterly dud are slim. Someone keeps forgetting to turn off the stove, because Blue Apron keeps burning those who want to get close to it.
Blue Apron is trying. It's been partnering with more successful enterprises as a way to develop new inroads into homes, but the marketplace has grown too competitive. Blue Apron's competition was primarily fellow meal-kit specialists, including HelloFresh and Plated, when it was going public last year, but these days, there's a glut of grocery store chains, tech behemoths, and packaged food giants gunning for the same market.
Wall Street sees Blue Apron checking in with a quarterly deficit of $0.21 a share, but don't even bother to check the bottom line on this week's report. Blue Apron's been cutting costs -- partly explaining the slide in sales growth momentum -- but it isn't impressing investors. It has clocked in with less red ink than analysts were modeling for three consecutive quarters, and it hasn't made a lick of difference to the cascading stock price.
Blue Apron is living on the edge -- the edge of exchange delisting, that is -- and it's making it that much harder to smoke out enthusiasm outside of the day traders that double as riverboat gamblers by night. A growing number of Wall Street analysts are starting to steer clear of the fading stock, and takeover speculation in the past has been whittled down to chatter about who will pay pennies on the dollar to scoop up the remains if and when this ends in bankruptcy court.
Wednesday's financial update will be one of the last opportunities, if not the last opportunity, for Blue Apron to impress the market. It can't mess this up again.