Beyond Meat Retail Sales Soared During Virus Panic Shopping Spree

In this Thursday, March 19, 2020 file photo, people stand in an aisle of empty shelves in a supermarket in London, amid panic-buying due to the coronavirus outbreak. A pandemic forcing everyone to stay home could be the perfect moment for online grocery services. In practice, they've been struggling to …

Beyond Meat sold a lot more of its products in grocery stores than expected.

The company reported first-quarter results Wednesday that beat expectations by showing a 3 cent profit per share. Analysts had expected a loss of seven cents a share.

Far more important, however, was the higher than expected sales numbers. The company grew sales to $97.1 million, a 141 percent improvement over the year. Analysts had forecast $88.8 million in sales.

The surprisingly strong sales numbers are all the more remarkable because so many restaurants closed their doors in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Around half of last year’s sales were to restaurants and food services.

Restaurant sales were more than halved, dropping from around $58 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to about $23 million. Retail sales–people buying Beyond Meat to cook at home–jumped from $40 million at the end of 2019 to $50 million, offsetting much of that weakness. That is a 157 percent gain over last year’s start.

Some grocery stores ran short of meat in March as panic buying ensued and people stocked up on various products, most famously toilet paper. This may have helped Beyond Meat’s sales.

Shares of Beyond Meat jumped 22 percent on Wednesday.

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