The Motley Fool has the following evaluation: “Blue Apron is broken. The number of customers it serves tumbled 6% from the year-ago period to 856,000, and plunged 9% from just the second quarter. The company blames the drop-off on it spending less on marketing. It spent $34 million on marketing in the quarter, or some 16% net sales, which was a big decline from the $50 million it spent last year, when it accounted for a quarter of its sales, as well as from the $61 million it spent just before it went public … Blue Apron says the marketing spend decrease was planned all along, but that makes it seem as though it poured money into marketing ahead of its IPO to simply justify the anticipated offering price at the time.”

The evaluation leads Motley Fool to come to this conclusion: “Unless someone comes along and buys Blue Apron, investors would probably do well to cut their ties to the meal kit delivery service. Another poor quarterly performance showing it continues to lose customers means an acquisition may be its only hope for survival.”

KC's View: In so many ways, Blue Apron is the victim of bad timing. It has its IPO at the same time as Amazon says it plans to get into the meal kit business, and it looks so bad compared to Plated (acquired by Albertsons) and smaller rivals such as Marley Spoon, Sun Basket, and Purple Carrot.

I agree that acquisition may be the fastest and easiest solution, but in the meantime, pulling back on marketing strikes me as being counterproductive.