Dieting is out at Weight Watchers as it renames itself WW

The company already had been inching closer toward becoming a lifestyle brand over the previous few years.

But the 61-year-old Grossman is extending its new wellness mantra into everything the company does: wellness-themed Caribbean cruises, cookware and removing artificial sweeteners from its line of snacks. It’s adding a rewards system with WW swag and prizes from trendy names like Rent the Runway and ClassPass to keep people engaged.

So far, these changes are paying off. More people are subscribing to WW now than ever before and they’re staying with the program longer. Wall Street has rewarded the company, sending its stock price to a record intraday high of $105.73 on June 20. Its shares have tumbled to $68 a share since then, but the stock is still up by more than 50 percent this year, and the company has a market value of $4.5 billion.

“Everything we try and do, I try to look through the lens of we need to be surprising yet familiar,” Grossman told CNBC in an interview this month at WW’s headquarters. “We will never not celebrate and believe that our heritage and everything we do is important. So we’re not going to take a sharp left, but we have to be relevant. We have to understand that people need different things.”

Executives are targeting $2 billion in annual revenue by the end of 2020. Last year, revenue reached $1.31 billion, up 12.2 percent from $1.16 billion in 2016. They want to add new members and improve retention to fuel the growth.

WW needs to keep the momentum alive to convince shareholders it can achieve these goals.

Investors quickly soured in August when the company said the number of subscribers slipped to 4.5 million at the end of June from 4.6 million three months before. The company’s shares fell nearly 15 percent. Some members want Weight Watchers to stick to weight-loss programs.

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