At what point do you admit your business isn’t working?
That’s what occurred to me after Peloton reported Thursday it lost $1.2 billion in the most recent quarter.
That’s a loss of over a billion bucks. In just three months.
It makes Peloton’s $313-million loss a year ago seem like a win by comparison.
The company’s CEO, Barry McCarthy, put a brave face on the latest setback.
“The naysayers will look at our financial performance and see a melting pot of declining revenue, negative gross margin and deeper operating losses,” he said in a letter to shareholders.
“But what I see is significant progress driving our comeback and Peloton’s long-term resilience,” he said, adding that “we still have work to do.”
Significant progress? Long-term resilience?
Maybe, if the current layoffs and store closures somehow improve Peloton’s fortunes. But it’s hard to see how the company’s operations are sustainable when the marketplace is clearly responding with a thumbs-down.
Peloton’s stock surged Wednesday after the company announced that some (but not all) of its fitness equipment will be available on Amazon.
But opening new marketing and distribution channels is just one piece of the puzzle. A more pressing concern for the company is consumers’ growing disinterest in high-priced home-fitness gear and a monthly subscription fee of $44.
That gear, and those subscriptions, are the bedrock of Peloton’s business model. And they’re just not working.
Not when the company lost $2.8 billion in the 12 months ended June 30, compared with a $189-million loss a year earlier.
Not when they’ve had six straight quarters of losses.
Not when the company’s stock is down by about 90% from a year ago.
In a call with analysts, McCarthy cited the example of Netflix triumphing over Blockbuster when it came to movie rentals.
What he seemed to be saying is that innovation is hard, but it will succeed in the end.
Point taken. Except, you know, Netflix is now rethinking its business amid growing competition in the streaming space.
Getting fit isn’t just about losing weight. It’s also about putting on muscle.
And that’s not easy.