Weight Watchers - better known simply as WW these days - used to just help people get slimmer. Now, it is aiming to help them get better.
Years into getting backing and branding partnership from none other than Oprah Winfrey, Weight Watchers ($WTW) has seen shares hit hard in 2019 - and the stock is down 13% year-to-date. But it just posted a big rebound and its CEO is bullish on the 4.6 million members WW has, plus its growing digital prowess.
App engagement for Weight Watchers has been excellent on multiple levels. For one, its app rating (not shown) is 4.8 in the Apple ($AAPL) App Store, and it has also packed on 15% more reviews in the time since the second half of the year kicked off. And, WW's leadership knows it.
"We're actually a technology experience company with a human-centric overlay, CEO Mindy Grossman said at the Yahoo All Markets Summit in New York on Thursday October 10. "Next year, we'll be adding virtual group coaching... it's a competitive advantage."
The map above helps track Weight Watchers locations - although its growing digital presence is what has had analysts optimistic after a down first quarter. You can pinch-and-zoom through the map to better highlight locations.
Grossman runs the show, but Oprah's investment and arrival from a branding perspective has been a boon for Weight Watchers. Oprah first bought in near the very bottom for Weight Watchers stock, picking up a position in 2015, which soon generated substantial returns. But Weight Watchers' engagement has typically been seasonal, and sometimes it hasn't been able to meet expectations.
The stock was hit, in 2018, when a report suggested that Winfrey was reducing her role with the organization (her camp fired back, insisting that wasn't the case, but the stock is yet to fully rebound). The company just underwent a strategic rebranding (renaming itself WW International), which appears to have gotten WW all the right attention - a few months after the rebrand, it saw a double-digit bump for stock on a big earnings beat. That said, detractors remain.
Finally, one thing investors can take solace in with Weight Watchers - between its ability to draw app ratings, its ability to keep those ratings high and our final chart - which tracks how much engagement Weight Watchers gets from people talking about its products and services on Facebook ($FB), it looks like the company continues to have staying power for consumers.
About the Data:
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