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Beyond Meat swings to a loss as grocery sales growth slows

Beyond Meat “Beyond Burger” patties made from plant-based substitutes for meat products sit on a shelf for sale on November 15, 2019 in New York City.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Beyond Meat on Thursday reported a wider-than-expected loss in the first quarter as restaurant customers take longer to return and grocery shoppers aren’t stockpiling its meat substitutes anymore.

However, CEO Ethan Brown said the company is seeing a “slow thaw” in its food service segment in the United States and some international markets, prompting the company to issue a revenue forecast for the next quarter.

Shares of the company fell 6% in extended trading.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Loss per share: 42 cents adjusted vs. 19 cents expected
  • Revenue: $108.2 million vs. $113.7 million expected

Beyond reported fiscal first-quarter net loss of $27.3 million, or 43 cents per share, down from net income of $1.8 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding expenses from early debt extinguishment, the company lost 42 cents per share, wider than the loss of 19 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

This is the third quarter in a row that Beyond has reported a wider-than-expected loss. The company has been investing back into its business as it tries to position itself as a global player. Beyond now has production facilities in China and the Netherlands, for example.

Net sales rose 11.4% to $108.2 million, missing expectations of $113.7 million.

U.S. retail sales jumped by 27.8% during the quarter. Sales in grocery and convenience stores accounted for more than three-quarters of the company’s total U.S. revenue. Prior to the pandemic, retail sales made up only about half of Beyond’s revenue.

Food service sales in the U.S. fell 26% as streamlined menus and less customer traffic at restaurants hurt demand.

Outside of Beyond’s home market, sales rose 12.5%, fueled by skyrocketing retail demand. International grocery sales nearly tripled during the quarter. In total, international sales account for a quarter of the company’s revenue.

For the second quarter, the company is forecasting revenue in the range of $135 million to $150 million, representing an increase of 19% to 32% compared with the year-ago period. Wall Street analysts are expecting net sales of $142.8 million next quarter.

Beyond did not provide an outlook for the full year, citing the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

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