Blue Apron posts smaller revenue drop, narrower loss than expected

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Blue Apron Holdings Inc reported a smaller-than-expected revenue drop and quarterly loss on Tuesday after a costly distribution hub switch forced it to slash marketing.

The meal-kit subscription service had 746,000 customers in the fourth quarter through Dec. 31, compared to 856,000 in the prior quarter and 879,000 a year earlier. The marketing pullback came despite mounting competition for customers from meal-kit rivals and Amazon.com Inc.

Revenue was $187.7 million, down 13 percent from a year earlier but exceeding analyst estimates for $185.1 million.

New York-based Blue Apron had a net loss of 20 cents per share, beating analysts average estimate for a net loss of 27 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares surged 9 percent in premarket trading. (Reporting by Meredith Mazzilli; Editing by Bernadette Baum)