Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN) were down 15% in afternoon hours on Thursday. The stock has gained 59% since the beginning of this year. The company reported double-digit revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2020 along with a narrower loss compared to the same period a year ago.
Net revenue increased 22% year-over-year to $115.5 million driven by improvements in orders per customer and average order value. Net revenues increased 3% sequentially helped by lower refunds and expanded product offerings. Net loss narrowed to $0.67 per share from $1.66 per share last year.
Orders per customer increased 15% year-over-year while average order value stood at $61.43. Average revenue per customer totaled $327.
Blue Apron saw strong demand for its meal kits in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic put restrictions on dining out which led to more people opting for cooking meals at home. On its quarterly conference call, the company said that based on internal and third-party research, it expects the rise in home cooking seen during 2020 to continue in 2021.
Blue Apron said a third-party survey showed that there was an increased interest in cooking among the majority of consumers and that the company was well-positioned to meet this need through its meal kits. The company saw its customer base increase to 353,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 351,000 in the same period a year ago.
Blue Apron is undertaking several initiatives to meet the increasing demands of its customers. The company is launching new product offerings and its decision to temporarily reopen its Arlington facility will give it the needed capacity to roll out more such products this year.
The company is also providing customers with options to customize their orders according to their dietary needs and to purchase multiple orders per cycle. These actions have helped drive the average order value during the quarter.
Blue Apron believes that some of the strong demand trends seen in 2020 are likely to continue through the first half of 2021 and beyond but they are likely to fluctuate based on the effects of the pandemic.
For the first quarter of 2021, the company expects net revenue to grow approx. 23-27% year-over-year to approx. $125-129 million. Blue Apron also expects to see both a sequential and YoY increase in customers in Q1. For the full year of 2021, revenues are projected to grow double-digits.
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