Blue Apron skirts standard-accounting rules to claim profitability

Meal-kit provider Blue Apron Holdings Inc.‘s shares rocketed 38% on Tuesday, after the company said it is confident it can achieve a version of profitability this year. The recipe for the stock’s turnaround may be mostly accounting.

The rosy outlook for the first quarter and year is dependent on an adjusted, non-standard method of accounting that ignores chronic losses and declining revenue. By standard accounting, called GAAP, for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the results have been dismal, pushing the stock down 60% in the last 12 months.