Peloton CEO teases an ‘epic comeback’ for the pandemic stock darling

February 1, 2023, 4:11 PM UTC
Barry McCarthy, president and CEO of Peloton Interactive, walks to a morning session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 06, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy, pictured in July 2022, has said the company is staging an "epic comeback" after its Q2 earnings were published.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Peloton’s chief executive has hailed a new era for the fitness company, insisting that the troubled firm has been pulled back from “the brink of extinction.”

The company published earnings for its fiscal second quarter on Wednesday, a period during which it improved its cash flow and narrowed its net loss to $335 million—a dramatic 24% improvement from a year earlier.

While sales and revenues declined from the same period in 2022, the company said it was set to achieve positive cash flow by the end of the fiscal year in June, and its revenue forecast for the next quarter exceeded analyst expectations.

“If you’ve been wondering whether or not Peloton can make an epic comeback, this quarter’s results show the changes we’re making are working,” CEO Barry McCarthy, who has been at the company for a year, said in a letter to shareholders on Wednesday.

“This was by far our best quarterly performance in my twelve months with Peloton. Most of the executive team is also relatively new to Peloton and new to their teams. Given what we’ve already accomplished, imagine what’s possible once the team finds its groove.”

Peloton shares gained around 20% during early trade on Wall Street on the back of its second-quarter results—bolstering the bullish stance investors have taken on the former pandemic-darling stock since the beginning of the year.

Peloton’s business performance was boosted by soaring demand for at-home workouts at the height of the pandemic, with its stock surging 350% and revenues jumping 172% in a single quarter.

However, the company and its stock suffered a stunning fall when the momentum couldn’t be sustained.

At one point, a top stock research firm warned Peloton shares could plummet all the way to $0. While that hasn’t happened so far—and the company’s stock has rallied in recent weeks—shares of Peloton are still around 90% less valuable now than they were at their peak in late 2020.

‘No longer on the brink of extinction’

In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, McCarthy insisted Peloton had been revived thanks to its ongoing turnaround strategy, which has involved mass layoffs, secondhand equipment sales, and executive reshuffles.

“We were on the brink of extinction, and that’s no longer the case,” McCarthy told Bloomberg. “We’ve put to bed questions about the viability of the business.”

Simeon Siegel, managing director of equity research at New York–based BMO Capital Markets, told Fortune on Wednesday that despite McCarthy’s optimism, a turnaround is not the same thing as a growth story.

“Peloton has fixed its greatest problem,” he said. “And, at least in my opinion, there are no existential threats. To management’s credit, Peloton has improved its fixed cost structure, but it is now beating revenue expectations but missing gross profit dollars.”

He added: “Peloton is a great product with a fantastic community. That doesn’t mean its reach is limitless.”

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