Peloton stock falls after company posts unexpected quarterly loss

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Peloton Interactive Inc. sales more than doubled in the first three months of the year, but the company reported a surprising loss for the period Thursday amid difficulties with delivering products during a pandemic-fueled surge in demand.

Peloton PTON, +1.40% on Thursday afternoon reported fiscal third-quarter losses of $8.6 million, or 3 cents a share, up from a loss of 20 cents a share a year ago. Sales more than doubled to $1.26 billion from $525 million in the same period a year ago. Analysts on average expected profit of 20 cents a share on sales of $1.12 billion.

Shares dropped between 2% and 3% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the results, after closing with a 1.4% gain at $83.78.

Peloton was a hot product and stock as COVID-19 spread across the globe in 2020, with consumers rushing to buy its connected exercise bikes and treadmills and subscribe to its online courses as gyms were forced to close. The soaring demand for its products led to delays in manufacturing and shipping equipment. Peloton has tried to develop manufacturing in the U.S. instead of Asia and paid a pretty penny in shipping fees to address those problems.

As executives sought to rectify their issues getting equipment into consumers’ hands, a problem with the product that had shipped suddenly popped up in recent months. After a child died and others were hurt in accidents involving its treadmills, Peloton faced off with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, initially calling the CPSC’s announcement of concern about the product “inaccurate and misleading” before announcing a recall earlier this week.

In a letter to shareholders Thursday, Peloton executives said that delivery times for its original exercise bike product “are now back to pre-COVID-19 levels.”

“While progress has been made, additional work remains to reduce delivery times across the remainder of our product portfolio and regions,” the letter stated.

Peloton’s once-booming stock has been damaged by the recent uncertainty. After more than quadrupling in 2020 to reach a peak market capitalization of nearly $45 billion in December, shares have dropped more than 44% in 2021 for a valuation of less than $25 billion as of Thursday’s trading session.

The fulfillment and treadmill issues have clouded the picture of Peloton’s strong financial growth over the past year, and have averted investors’ eyes more to the future.

“We believe expectations remain muted and investors are largely focused on the FY ’22 outlook, and any commentary on F4Q backlog could help support the stock,” MKM Partners Managing Director Rohit Kulkarni wrote in an earnings preview this week. “We think the stock reaction will be based on revised FY ’21 guidance, commentary related to shipping delays & inventory availability and miscellaneous growth initiatives.”

Peloton executives did not provide a revised forecast in their letter to shareholders, as they typically do. Instead, the letter said that a revised forecast would be provided on a conference call scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Even with the recent turbulence, Peloton shares have more than doubled in the past year, gaining more than 122% as the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.82% increased 46.3%.

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