: WW banks on new weight loss program after third-quarter slump
WW International Inc. launched its PersonalPoints Program around the world on Monday, the company’s latest weight management program and the initiative it hopes will turn around third-quarter revenue and profit declines.
The PersonalPoints Program offers individualized plans that are intended to help members lose weight and form healthy habits. The system updates the company’s Points system that helps members track calorie intake and other diet data.
formerly Weight Watchers, previewed the new program during its third-quarter earnings announcement last week. The company reported a revenue miss and a 4.3% decline in subscribers.
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“In an environment that was difficult to predict, member recruitment slowed more than we had anticipated during the quarter,” said WW’s Chief Financial Officer Amy O’Keefe in a release statement.
“With the launch of our innovative new food program and our plans for the upcoming winter season, we believe we have the right playbook to drive profitable growth in 2022.”
On the earnings call, Chief Executive Mindy Grossman said the company will put more investment in fourth-quarter marketing to promote the new program.
Grossman, who joined WW in 2017, will lead the company through the launch of the new program and the winter 2022 season and then will be stepping down from her role.
“The shifting consumer behaviors around weight loss prioritization over the last several months has resulted in 2021 being a more challenging year than we anticipated; however, it in no way diminishes our enthusiasm and confidence in our 2022 food program innovation and the potential it has to drive significant signs of momentum in January, the time of the year when many people focus on their goals for the year ahead and reprioritize their health and wellness,” Grossman said on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.
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The company says it is also looking to jumpstart its licensing business, with a recently-launched line of breads now available in 400 Walmart
“It’s all about 2022 now,” note D.A. Davidson’s Linda Bolton Weiser in the group’s latest note on WW.
Weiser notes the company’s stock rise in anticipation of the new program.
The stock closed up 6.2% on Friday, and rose another 5.9% on Monday. The stock has gained 17% for the month to date.
D.A. Davidson rates WW stock buy with a $30 price target.
“We believe that WW will need to demonstrate that its new food innovation can drive an inflection in digital subscription growth to unlock meaningful share price upside,” wrote UBS analysts in a note.
Analysts note that the digital subscriber number slipped 2.8% during the quarter to 3.7 million. Total subscribers at the end of the period was 4.5 million, with the remaining 800,000 subscribers participating both digitally and in workshops.
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“Looking ahead, we expect to end 2021 with a year-over-year decline in subscribers, which given the nature of our subscription business model, translates into a revenue headwind of approximately $25 million entering 2022,” O’Keefe said on the call.
UBS rates WW stock neutral with a $21 price target, down from $26.
WW stock has tumbled 16.6% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index
has gained 24.6% for the period.