Blue Apron's problems still 'several quarters' away from being fixed: Analyst

Key Points
  • Stifel says Blue Apron's operational problems "may take several quarters" to fix.
  • The firm lowered its rating on the meal-kit delivery company to hold from buy.
  • Blue Apron shares are down 46 percent since its June 29 initial public offering at $10 per share.
Traders work on the floor of the Exchange ahead of the Blue Apron IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in New York, June 29, 2017
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

A turnaround for Blue Apron from its disastrous initial public offering is nowhere in sight, according to one Wall Street firm.

Stifel lowered its rating for Blue Apron shares to hold from buy due to the lack of clarity of when the company will be able to fix some issues with operations.

Blue Apron "is currently facing challenges with the transition of order volume to its new fulfillment center in Linden, NJ, and is also in the middle of addressing operational challenges with its broader product expansion," analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a note to clients Thursday.

"Blue Apron management reported the implementation of additional systems and fixes to correct both issues; however, we view current visibility as low into the timing and path of a course correction and will await further information on the company's progress."

The company's shares were down 19 percent this month through Thursday with most the decline occurring after it admitted on its Aug. 10 earnings call that it was encountering unexpected issues tied to starting up the Linden plant.

Blue Apron's stock is also down 46 percent since its June 29 initial public offering at $10 per share.

Devitt reduced his price target for Blue Apron to $6 from $8, representing 11 percent upside from Thursday's close.

The analyst noted that the company's sales guidance for the second half of the year was 26 percent lower than Wall Street expectations due to the fulfillment transition problems.

"We believe improvement … may take several quarters before the company emerges on the other side should it be able to execute according to plan," he wrote.

Only 30 percent of Wall Street analysts have a buy rating on Blue Apron, according to FactSet.

Blue Apron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.