Online retailer Blue Nile records 20% jump in third-quarter net sales

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Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile posted a 19.8-percent rise on the year in net sales in the third quarter to US$89.8 million.

The company says there were rises in sales in all product categories, including its new focus on fashion jewelry, and a large rise in new clients.

Net income for the period ended September 30 dropped almost 7 percent to US$1.7 million, while operating income for the quarter was US$2.7 million.

Harvey Kanter, President and Chief Executive Officer, says investment in marketing and pricing are "building momentum behind the strength of our diamond engagement products. Sales of our non-engagement products also improved this quarter, and we are only beginning to launch an assortment of new jewelry aimed to further accelerate our growth."

Kanter says the retailer believes it is well positioned to achieve its targets for this year.

Highlights of Third Quarter

The company said that the highlights of the third quarter include a 31.5-percent rise in net sales of engagement items in the United States to US$54.1 million, while non-engagement net sales, a new area for the retailer, rose 12 percent to US$21.8 million.

At the end of the third quarter, cash and cash equivalents totaled US$30.2 million, while the number of new customers jumped by 22.4 percent.

However, international sales slipped 3.3 percent to US$14.4 million in the third quarter. Stripping out the impact from changes in foreign exchange rates, international net sales showed a 1.5-percent decline.

Meanwhile, selling, general and administrative expenses were US$14.3 million, compared to US$12 million in the third quarter of 2011.

In its financial guidance, the company expects fourth quarter net sales to be US$140 million-US$153 million. For the fiscal year as a whole, it forecasts net sales of US$404 million to US$417 million.

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