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Could Weight Watchers Fatten Up Another 33%?

By Howard Smith - May 13, 2020 at 6:32PM

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A Jefferies analyst initiates coverage on WW International as a buy with a price target of $32.

WW International (WW 2.68%), formerly known as Weight Watchers, has a strategy that resonates well in today's environment, according to Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink. She believes the COVID-19 pandemic has created a wellness trend that will continue and plays into the company's strategy, which could boost shares another 33% from current levels. 

Wissink thinks the shift from focusing on just weight loss, to a more holistic wellness concept, has increased the total addressable market for the company from $18 billion to $300 billion, according to a report by TheStreet. The analyst believes the pandemic has "unlocked a durable trend: Wellness is being prioritized, supporting superior growth potential," according to the report. 

woman looking at smartwatch display of health screen with heart rate

Image source: Getty Images.

The company, best known for its weight loss programs, began a partnership with global media giant Oprah Winfrey in 2015, and recently extended the relationship into 2025. Ms. Winfrey is a board member, shareholder, and strategic advisor to the company, which changed its name from Weight Watchers to WW International in 2018 to reflect its shift into total health and wellness strategies. "I believe in WW's mission and the power of its program to create positive, lasting change for everyone who wants a partner to help support them in pursuing a stronger, healthier life," said Ms. Winfrey. 

In its most recent first quarter earnings release, the company said it has accelerated its digital transformation to provide members a global community of support and encouragement to support the "WW experience."

The Jefferies analyst wrote, "COVID-19 has heightened awareness re: physical, mental and emotional well being while also reinforcing the need for human connection and brand purpose," and believes the stock price could reach $32, up from today's closing price of $24.60.

Howard Smith 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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