Weight Watchers Surges on Better Results After Diet-Season Rout

(Bloomberg) -- Weight Watchers International Inc. rose the most in 15 months after its better-than-expected first-quarter results eased investor concerns after a tough start to the year. “We feel we identified what the issues are and made changes,” Chief Executive Officer Mindy Grossman said in an interview. “We certainly stabilized the business.”

  • The wellness company forecast earnings per share this year between $1.35 and $1.55 a share, beating the average analyst estimate.

Key Insights

  • The company that’s rebranded as WW gave Wall Street encouraging signs on Thursday, a welcome reversal after its previous quarter’s results sent shares plummeting on fears that a slow start to the year -- traditionally diet season -- would be hard to recover from. Subscribers grew 0.9 percent year on year in the latest quarter, with management targeting “recruitment and retention” as two key 2019 goals.
  • Weight Watchers decided after the rough fourth quarter to bring shareholder Oprah Winfrey back front and center in its marketing. It launched a new spot this week featuring the celebrity, one of the largest shareholders. Grossman said the new adds are working.
  • More than half the company’s subscribers are now on the digital platform only, instead of attending the community -- or studio -- meetings the company originally built its brand on.
Weight Watchers Surges on Better Results After Diet-Season Rout

Market Reaction

  • The stock jumped as much as 18 percent to $23.90 Friday in New York, the most intraday since February 2018. And while that has helped pare losses so far this year, the shares are still down about 39 percent.
  • Get more on the numbers here.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.