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We Think Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) Can Easily Afford To Drive Business Growth

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. Indeed, Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) stock is up 206% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given its strong share price performance, we think it's worthwhile for Chewy shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

View our latest analysis for Chewy

When Might Chewy Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. As at August 2020, Chewy had cash of US$154m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$26m. That means it had a cash runway of about 5.8 years as of August 2020. Importantly, though, analysts think that Chewy will reach cashflow breakeven before then. If that happens, then the length of its cash runway, today, would become a moot point. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Well Is Chewy Growing?

We reckon the fact that Chewy managed to shrink its cash burn by 22% over the last year is rather encouraging. On top of that, operating revenue was up 40%, making for a heartening combination It seems to be growing nicely. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

How Hard Would It Be For Chewy To Raise More Cash For Growth?

While Chewy seems to be in a decent position, we reckon it is still worth thinking about how easily it could raise more cash, if that proved desirable. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. By comparing a company's annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).

Chewy has a market capitalisation of US$29b and burnt through US$26m last year, which is 0.09% of the company's market value. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.

So, Should We Worry About Chewy's Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Chewy's cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. And even though its cash burn reduction wasn't quite as impressive, it was still a positive. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 2 warning signs for Chewy that investors should know when investing in the stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.