Thursday 12 August 2021 9:45 am

Weightwatchers shares dive 25 per cent as dieting put on pause during lockdown

Shares in WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers, have fallen 25 per cent since the firm reported its biggest decline in over two years yesterday, as consumers have taken a break from dieting during lockdowns.

The dip in its shares follows disappointing second quarter results and a weaker-than-expected outlook for the company, which is backed by US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

The weight loss firm had 4.9m subscribers at the end of June, down from 5m last year but CEO Mindy Grossman insisted that part of this decline was a seasonal effect, according to a BBC report.

Grossman said people were less worried about what they ate as they finally got out of their homes again.

“While people are acknowledging their need for recommitting to weight loss and wellness,” she said, “our recent consumer research shows that, at the moment, they’re also asking for a pause to enjoy social reconnection.”

“With both traffic and search under pressure, this sentiment shift appears to be across the weight loss and wellness category,” Grossman added.

Dieting companied including WW initially saw a rise in popularity as more people decided to focus on getting into shape while being stuck at home.

At the same time many people put on weight as their activity levels dropped without a commute, and as individuals managed lockdown stress through food and alcohol consumption.

Some of the high profile ambassadors for WW include actress Kate Hudson, comedian James Corden, and Oprah Winfrey who also bought a 10 per cent stake in the weight watching firm in 2015.

Despite the initial uptick in the three months to 30 June WW subscriber numbers fell or were flat across its key markets including the UK, Europe and North America. Branded product sales also declined by almost 7 per cent.