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Blue Nile Intl sales up by 53% for third quarter

05
Nov '08
Blue Nile Inc reported financial results for its third quarter ended September 28, 2008. Blue Nile reported net sales of $65.4 million compared to $67.4 million in the third quarter of 2007, a decrease of 2.9%. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA was $5.4 million for the quarter, consistent with the third quarter of 2007. Net income totaled $2.3 million, or $0.15 per diluted share compared to $3.0 million, or $0.18 per diluted share in the third quarter last year.

"Our top-line growth declined as a result of the further weakening in the economic environment in the U.S. during the third quarter," said Diane Irvine, Chief Executive Officer. "At the same time, our disciplined focus on managing the business profitably in this difficult retail climate allowed us to achieve our earnings per share guidance.

"We believe that our offering of exceptional diamonds and fine jewelry at a compelling value resonates with consumers especially during difficult times. We are excited about the new diamond, gemstone, pearl and silver jewelry that we are introducing for the holidays. However, our expectation is that this will be a very challenging holiday season based on the uncertainty in the external environment and extremely cautious consumer spending trends.

"Blue Nile is well positioned to generate profitability and cash flow even in difficult market conditions. We remain confident in our ability to continue to gain market share and to emerge from this economic downturn in an even stronger competitive position," concluded Irvine.

During the quarter, the Company repurchased 593,700 shares of its common stock for $23.2 million. Since the inception of the buyback program in the first quarter of 2005, the Company has repurchased 4.4 million shares for a total of $160.0 million.

Selected Financial Highlights

- International sales for the third quarter grew 53% to $6.9 million, compared to $4.5 million in the third quarter of 2007.

- Gross profit for the third quarter was $13.3 million. As a percent of net sales, gross profit increased to 20.3% compared to 19.8% in the third quarter of 2007.

- Operating income for the quarter totaled $3.3 million. Operating income as a percentage of net sales was 5.0% for the third quarter.

- Selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter were $10.0 million, compared to $9.7 million in the third quarter of 2007. Selling, general and administrative expenses include stock-based compensation expense of $1.6 million, compared to $1.4 million in the third quarter of 2007.

- Net income per diluted share for the quarter includes stock-based compensation expense of $0.07, compared to $0.05 for the third quarter of 2007.

- Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $23.0 million for the trailing twelve month period ended September 28, 2008. Non-GAAP free cash flow was $20.1 million for the trailing twelve month period ended September 28, 2008.


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