ContextLogic (WISH 0.66%), the e-commerce marketplace better known as Wish, has been a nightmare for investors.
Over the last 18 months, the company has lost almost all of its key executives, customers, and market capitalization. As a shareholder, I was dumbfounded by how fast these events unfolded in such a short period.
In the latest chapter of this saga, Wish reported its second-quarter results on Aug. 9. Could there be a turnaround in the making here? Let's find out.
Wish delivered another horrible quarter
When Wish reported declining revenue in the second quarter of 2021, investors suspected something significant was brewing behind the scenes. After all, that was when most e-commerce companies reported solid growth fueled by the pandemic.
What unfolded over the next 12 months only confirmed investors' fears as executives left the company, revenue continued to plunge, and more. To kick off 2022, revenue fell 76% year over year to $189 million in the first quarter with a net loss of $60 million.
That pain extended into the second quarter with revenue down 80% year over year to $134 million and a net loss of $90 million. The top-line has struggled as management holds back on advertising -- ad spend in the latest quarter was a mere 11% of the prior-year total -- in addition to a change in its pricing strategy.
One silver lining in the report was the company's reduced cash burn with negative free cash flow of $67 million representing a significant improvement from last year's $205 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of negative $58 million came out ahead of management's guidance for an approximately $95 million loss. Wish also ended the second quarter with $947 million in cash and marketable securities, giving management the financial flexibility needed to turn the ship around.
Some positive developments to keep investors hopeful
By now, most investors have thrown in the towel on Wish. That's probably the most rational thing to do, especially considering how badly the company has performed since its IPO. Even Wish's most ardent supporter -- founder Piotr Szulczewski -- has decided to step away from the company entirely by leaving the Board of Directors.
But for investors still holding the stock (like myself), a few developments can keep us hopeful.
First is the new CEO, Vijay Talwar, who has been addressing the company's fundamental problems head-on. Under his leadership, Wish is rebranding the company, relaunching businesses (women's fashion), and working hard to improve operations.
Rebranding is essential to tell a new story about Wish to all shareholders, customers, merchants, and employees. It will highlight improvements Wish has made in areas like enhanced customer service, better delivery times, new customer experiences, and more.
To this end, it is essential to highlight some of the company's progress over the last few months. As a start, its net promoter score (NPS) continued to improve during the second quarter. On-time delivery also increased 18% year over year to 94% for the quarter. Longer term, Wish aims to improve time-to-door (TTD) for order deliveries to 15 days in 2023, down from an average of three weeks in early 2021.
Though it's still early days, I'm hopeful better customer service and delivery times will bring shoppers back to the platform. That, in turn, should improve customer retention and increase spending too, leaving open the possibility to attract new users (or reactivate dormant ones).
It's still too early to declare victory
Wish is facing a steep uphill battle, and despite the new leadership team's best efforts, it will be many months before Wish can return to a positive trajectory. In the latest earnings call, Talwar reiterated that the turnaround process would take 18 to 24 months.
Meanwhile, management expects adjusted EBITDA to fall further into the red in the third quarter with a loss of $110 million to $130 million as Wish increases spending on rebranding and marketing. In other words, there will be more pain before there are any gains.
I'll be holding onto my shares, but I won't be buying any new shares, either -- at least not until I see a sustainable recovery across the company's operations and financials.