HelloFresh has forecast its 2023 core profit to come above last year's figures but below market expectations, as the German meal-kit maker focuses on strengthening its customer base amid concerns over higher food and energy bills.
The company sees adjusted core profit (AEBITDA) of between €460 million and €540 million in 2023, compared with analysts' estimate of €547 million.
The forecast midpoint of €500 million compares with AEBITDA of €477.4 million that was reported in 2022, and which was ahead of the €464.5 million expected by analysts.
HelloFresh, like other players in the sector, had benefited from a sudden spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now facing higher marketing costs as it seeks to retain customers amid reopening economies and weakening consumer spending.
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The number of active customers in the fourth quarter dropped 1.5% to 7.1 million year-on-year, and also slumped from the 8 million seen in the previous quarter.
Better choices for customers and more meal solutions would boost the profitability of the meal kit business this year, chief executive officer Dominik Richter said in a statement.
'New Set Of Challenges'
“2022 presented us with a whole new set of challenges that our teams worked very hard on to tackle," Richter said. "While we continue to face a difficult macro environment, we still posted healthy growth rates and maintained strong levels of profitability.
"We also successfully managed to relentlessly mitigate inflationary pressures and ensure that our prices remain competitive compared to grocery stores."
The Berlin-based firm expects its revenue to grow 2% to 10% on a constant-currency basis in the current year, compared with constant currency growth of 18% in 2022.
It cited expectations of a weaker consumer environment and "reasonably tough" comparison figures with the first quarter of the last year, which had still benefited from pandemic-related lockdowns.
The company also forecast "relatively muted" order growth for 2023.
In absolute values, its revenue rose to €7.61 billion in 2022, from €5.99 billion a year earlier.