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Weight Watchers: sales slide takes it beyond the tipping point?
Is Weight Watchers following Jenny Craig and Slim-Fast, losing relevance, customers, sales and any hope of future growth?
In the first six months of this year Weight Watchers’ sales fell by 16%, while operating profit fell by 35%. It will be a blow to the company’s management, which hoped to turn round the company’s fortunes following a 6% decline in sales in 2013.
In fact Weight Watchers decline seems to be accelerating.
The reasons aren’t difficult to guess:
its paid-for weight-loss programme has to compete against free alternatives offered online from a host of websites and apps and younger consumers expect to get whatever they need free online – as the music downloads business testifies.
thanks to modern work patterns and time pressures, few people can make the time to turn up at a Weight Watchers meeting the same time each week
people’s interest in weight management has switched from an interest in special programmes and products to “weight wellness” as part of their everyday decision making about food
Weight Watchers was the “disruptive innovator” of the 1960s. Its meetings and motivational groups were the first of their kind. The company pioneered “social” to connect consumers and transform an industry 40 years before the term “social media” was even thought of.
But technology and changing eating habits have left the company apparently less and less able to create a point of difference. Weight Watchers sales slide may yet get worse.
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