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Why Weight Watchers' Stock Fell 24% in November

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Dec 4, 2018 at 10:14AM

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Investors weren't happy to see subscriber growth come in below expectations for the second straight quarter.

What happened

Weight Watchers (WW 5.10%) trailed the market by a wide margin last month, shedding 24% compared to a 1.8% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The decline added to a painful six-month stretch for shareholders in the subscription-based weight management company. And while the stock is still outperforming the market today, its gain is closer to 10% than the 120% jump it had posted by early July.

A person standing on a bathroom scale with a yellow measuring tape on the floor next to it.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

November's slump came as investors digested third-quarter earnings results that many found disappointing. On the one hand, Weight Watchers managed a 25% subscriber boost to cross 4.2 million while also expanding profitability at a nice clip. However, its membership figures declined from the prior quarter's 4.5 million user mark, which suggests its growth might be slowing even as it moves to rebrand itself into a broader health and wellness service.

Now what

CEO Mindy Grossman and her executive team said they were happy with the early rebranding efforts and the third-quarter results. They said in early November, though, that the main operating benefits to the brand shift won't show up until 2019 and beyond.

Until then, the company expects to earn between $3.15 and $3.25 per share in 2018, reflecting healthy growth from the prior year's $2.40-per-share mark.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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