By Heather Haddon
Blue Apron Holdings Inc. will try to give its struggling business a boost by selling meal kits in stores, acknowledging that its subscription-only model isn’t enough in the intensifying fight to fill people’s dinner plates.
One of the first meal-kit companies, Blue Apron /zigman2/quotes/203710464/composite APRN -1.50% has been losing customers amid increased competition and distribution problems. The company reported 750,000 subscribers last month, down from a peak of over 1 million last year. Its shares, down 46% so far this year, are trading around a fifth of their debut price of $10 last July. HelloFresh S.E. /zigman2/quotes/209850698/delayed DE:HFG +1.46% , the only other publicly traded meal-kit company, is up around 5% this year.
Independent surveys have shown that some consumers are turned off by the expense and commitment of meal-kit subscriptions. Blue Apron Chief Executive Brad Dickerson said he believes the company can find more customers for both that model and à-la-carte meals sold in stores and through its website.
“The access to consumers is much broader in this avenue than the avenue we’ve been operating in in the past,” he said in an interview.
Executives wouldn’t say how much Blue Apron will charge for the kits it hopes to have in stores by the end of this year. Blue Apron’s subscription meals start around $9 per person.
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