Blue Apron has had a rough quarter — but in an interview with CNBC Thursday, the company’s CEO said he remains optimistic.
The company’s stock slumped more than 11 percent mid-morning after the business posted mixed financial results. It’s another blow for the newly public company, which has languished below its $10 IPO price amid competitive pressure from a merger between Amazon and Whole Foods.
But CEO Matthew Salzberg told CNBC that the grocery market is far from a “winner-take-all” battle between grocers, Blue Apron and Amazon. Salzberg said the company’s proprietary products — like the beef from its farms — set the company apart from other retailers.
“We admire Amazon as a company, and we take them seriously, big or small,” Salzberg said. “That being said, we are competing in a competitive and large market. … We think about ourselves very differently, I think, than Amazon thinks about themselves.”
The meal kit-delivery company lost more money than Wall Street expected in the latest quarter, as it struggled to grow its customer base amid rising wage and labor costs. The situation may not improve right away, as the company looks to tighten its marketing expenses and shift resources in its New Jersey facilities.
“Marketing isn’t the only part of the picture,” Salzberg said. “Our business has an opportunity to grow just by monetizing existing [users] and serving those customers better by selling them more products.”
Blue Apron is closing a Jersey City facility this fall, a move the company says could cost it about 30 percent of its staff there. Employees have the option to transfer to a nearby location, but Blue Apron anticipates about 470 workers won’t make the move. Co-founder Matthew Wadiak, who was chief operating officer, also said in July he would transition into a senior advisory role.
“We created a new team that didn’t exist before — a consumer products team — which changed how we divide responsibilities among the management team at the company,” Salzberg said. “We also reorganized the way our product management and product marketing functions work in order to focus not just on acquisitions but also on customer monetization as well.”
— Reporting by Aditi Roy, written by Anita Balakrishnan.