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Blue Apron's stock nears NYSE danger level

FILE- In this July 18, 2017, file photo, the Blue Apron logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Blue Apron’s stock is hovering near $1 as the appetite for its cook-your-own meal kits falters. The company said that its number of customers dropped to 550,000 during the first three months of the year. That’s down 30% from 786,000 in the same time a year ago. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Blue Apron are nearing $1, close to levels that could eventually lead to its delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.

The cook-your-own meal kit company said this week that its customer count dropped 30% from this time last year, to 550,000. Total orders fell 29% in the first quarter, compared with 2018.

The struggling New York company has shifted its strategy to focus on customers more likely to remain loyal and who spend more per meal.

That has happened and customers are spending more per meal, putting in more order, and revenue per customer is rising. But it's not been enough to offset falling customer numbers.

If the stock slips below $1 and stays there for 30 consecutive days, it will be threatened with a delisting under NYSE rules.

Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc. on Wednesday traded for $1.02.

To grow, the company began selling kits through Walmart Inc.'s Jet.com and it's partnered with Weight Watchers. It's also testing a same-day delivery service.

Wall Street analysts at Raymond James, however, say building a larger customer base will be a challenge without sustained ad spending.

Blue Apron helped kick off the meal kits craze in the U.S., but it's now facing increased competition from both stores and online rivals.

Kroger and Albertsons have acquired meal kit companies to sell in their supermarkets. Amazon sells its own kits online and inside its Amazon Go cashier-less stores.

Blue Apron shares have fallen 90% in the two years since it made its initial public offering of stock.