WSJ: How $PTON Mismanaged the Pandemic

In a northwest Ohio industrial park, up the highway from a new Inc. warehouse and a soon-to-open solar-panel plant, Peloton Interactive Inc. PTON -1.49%? is building a million-square-foot factory that it will never use.

The once-hot stationary bike maker is selling the facility, initially set to cost $400 million and to be completed this fall, as it races to downsize a manufacturing operation expanded by leaders who believed Covid-driven demand would outlive the pandemic.

Its miscalculation about demand and the shift in the market have been so costly that Peloton—a company worth nearly $50 billion about a year ago—has laid off thousands of people, had to borrow $750 million to head off a cash crunch and is exploring a sale of a minority stake. It is a reminder that strategic choices—not just pandemic forces—determine how businesses emerge from the crisis. Peloton’s value fell to less than $5 billion this past week.