Don't Be Fooled: Blue Apron Is Still in Trouble
Shares of Blue Apron(NYSE: APRN) surged 45% on Jan. 15 after the meal kit maker provided a brief preview of its upcoming fourth quarter report, due to come out on Jan. 31. It didn't provide any exact numbers, but reaffirmed its "confidence in achieving profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis" in both the first quarter of 2019 and the full fiscal year "as it actively pursues the appropriate strategies to create value for its stakeholders." Second, Blue Apron lacks the scale to fend off larger competitors like Amazon's Whole Foods or Kroger, since those grocers can simply pack their own products into similar boxes and sell them at lower prices. Lastly, Blue Apron's meal kits target customers who are too busy to shop for ingredients to cook, but those same customers could simply buy prepared meals at Costco(NASDAQ: COST) or a myriad of other delivery and takeout options from restaurants.