Weight Watchers Jumps as Rebound Fueled by Flocks of New Clients

(Bloomberg) -- The turnaround at Weight Watchers appears to have staying power.

The diet company, which posted profit that beat estimates and raised its earnings guidance for the year, ended the quarter with more subscribers than ever after a 29 percent jump.

The company’s shares rose as much as 12 percent in late trading after the results were released. The stock nearly quadrupled in 2017 and had surged 57 percent this year through Thursday’s close.

After years of declines, Weight Watchers has been adding subscribers since media mogul Oprah Winfrey bought a stake and agreed to pitch the brand in 2015. Chief Executive Mindy Grossman, who took over last July, is having success locking in customers with technology improvements and a revamped diet program. The subscriber growth in the first quarter was the best the company’s seen since Winfrey helped spark the turnaround.

“People are really responding to the program,” Grossman said in an interview. “The efforts we’re making are yielding quantitative and qualitative results.”

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