Blue Apron delivers flat first day on stock market

Wall Street was not hungry for Blue Apron. The meal kit company's shares ended unchanged Thursday in their first full day on the stock market.

The stock rose as much as 10 percent after its debut, but it ended Thursday at $10. That's the same at its initial public offering price.

On Wednesday, Blue Apron lowered what it expected its shares to sell for, a sign that the company had trouble attracting investors for its IPO.

Blue Apron ships boxes to customers filled with all the raw ingredients needed to make home-cooked meals. It has many rivals, including HelloFresh and Plated, and there are concerns that competition to deliver groceries to people's doorsteps will only heat up after e-commerce giant Inc. announced plans to buy organic grocer Whole Foods earlier this month.

In some cities, Amazon already sells meal kits with recipes created by home goods mogul Martha Stewart.

But CEO Matthew Salzberg dismissed concerns about competition. He said in a TV interview Thursday that more competition will only help convince people to skip the supermarket and buy their groceries online.

"In some ways, Amazon is an ally for us in this fight," Salzberg told business news channel CNBC.

Still, Blue Apron raised less money than it had originally hoped. The New York company sold 30 million shares in its initial public offering at $10 per share, raising $300 million. Last week, it expected the shares to sell between $15 and $17, which would have given the company as much as $510 million.

But it lowered that range to between $10 and $11 per share on Wednesday. Blue Apron Holdings Inc. first filed to become a public company June 1, about two weeks before the Amazon-Whole Foods deal was announced.

The IPO valued Blue Apron at about $1.9 billion.

Salzberg, 33, co-founded Blue Apron five years ago. The company has never made a profit, and it reported a loss of $55 million last year, but its sales have soared. It posted revenue of $795.4 million for 2016, more than double its level the year before. It spent nearly 70 percent of last year's revenue on food, shipping and other expenses related to running the company, according to government filings.

Blue Apron's cheapest kit, which makes four servings, costs about $48. Each box comes with pre-portioned ingredients such as raw meat, seafood and vegetables, as well as seasonings. There are also recipe cards to help customers cook up meals such as basil fettuccine or quinoa burgers. Blue Apron said it had more than 1 million customers at the end of March.

The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "APRN."