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Blue Apron Seeks Funds or a Sale as It Shutters a Facility

Nikitha Sattiraju

(Bloomberg) -- Blue Apron Holdings Inc., which kicked off the meal-kit-by-mail fad, is evaluating options to rekindle the business, including raising additional capital or selling assets, as it struggles to find new customers or profit.

The company reported a loss per share for the fourth quarter of $1.66, which was wider than an average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company is pushing forward with a previously disclosed plan to close a facility in Arlington, Texas.

When it went public in 2017, Blue Apron was one of the most promising consumer technology upstarts in New York. Its trajectory quickly turned, and the onetime unicorn startup now has a market value of less than $50 million. Its stock was down about 21% during trading Wednesday afternoon.

Blue Apron outlined a plan in August to turn around its fortunes and return to growth. The company is focusing on selling meal kits, which contain recipes and packaged ingredients delivered to the home, to customers who are more affluent or more likely to make frequent orders, among other characteristics. It also aims to offer increased menu choices and last year began carrying products from Beyond Meat Inc., the high-profile maker of imitation meat.

But investors aren’t convinced, and Blue Apron’s stock has continued to decline. Linda Kozlowski, the chief executive officer, warned in an interview Tuesday that the process to raise money or sell may not pan out.

“We can’t promise that strategic options will actually happen,” Kozlowski said. “When we refer back to the August growth plan, we feel we have the right strategy. We’re already seeing progress on the products side, but we do feel that we require investment in order to really drive the strategy.”

(Updates with stock price and details on corporate strategy starting in the third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Nikitha Sattiraju in New York at nsattiraju@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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