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The meal-kit company already competes with similar startups as well as grocery delivery services offered by Amazon's Prime service and Whole Foods Market Inc.'s partnership with Instacart Inc.

As Ruth pointed out, Blue Apron's customer acquisition costs are already out of control: "Blue Apron's marketing department is spending an exorbitant $94 per customer to get people to sign up for its service-and in the past year, its customer growth rate has actually slowed".

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following Amazon's massive purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, it looks like the next step in the retail giant's scheme involves pre-prepared meal kits.

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While Amazon has dabbled in the tiny meal-kit category before, the news-first reported in the Times, which reports that Amazon has registered "We do the prep".

IPO in late June couldn't have come at a worse time. Amazon's interest in meal kits directly undermines that pitch.

Blue Apron went public shortly after the Whole Foods acquisition was announced, pricing at the bottom of an already slashed valuation. In fact, just days after Amazon filed the trademarks, Blue Apron's stocks plummeted, falling by at least 10 percent (though any correlation is purely speculative). And while the meal kit category is fraught with problems-including reports of high churn rates as consumers wrestle with food quality, high prices and the reality that even a meal kit requires some preparation-Amazon's announcement is an indication that it could grow beyond its tiny niche among Millennials. Just 12 trading days later, the company is worth less than $1.3 billion. If the company becomes strapped for cash, it may increase its borrowing capacity under a revolving credit facility or raise additional funds through equity or debt financing arrangements, the filing said.

Amazon shares rose almost 1 percent to $1010.93 on Monday, up 4.4 percent for the month, while Blue Apron shares were off about 30 percent for July. That's less than what the company was worth when it operated as a private "unicorn" in 2015.


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