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Blue Nile maintains strong cash & liquidity position
19
Feb '09
Blue Nile Inc reported financial results for its fourth quarter (14 weeks) and fiscal year (53 weeks) ended January 4, 2009.

Blue Nile reported net sales for the 14-week fourth quarter of $85.8 million compared to $111.9 million in the 13-week fourth quarter of 2007. Excluding sales from the additional week included in this year's fourth quarter, sales for the quarter totaled $81.9 million. Operating income for the quarter totaled $5.3 million, compared to $10.1 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2007. Net income totaled $3.5 million, or $0.24 per diluted share compared to $7.5 million, or $0.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2007.

For the full 53-week year, Blue Nile reported net sales of $295.3 million, compared to $319.3 million in the 52-week year of 2007, a decrease of 7.5%. Excluding sales from the additional week in fiscal 2008, net sales decreased 8.7%. Operating income totaled $16.0 million compared to $22.4 million in 2007. Net income for 2008 was $11.6 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, compared to $17.5 million, or $1.04 per diluted share for 2007. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA for 2008 totaled $25.1 million.

"The 2008 holiday season was the most challenging one for retailers in four decades, and our business was impacted by the pull back in consumer spending in this weak economic climate," said Diane Irvine, Chief Executive Officer. "Despite the difficult environment, we were able to achieve significant profitability and adjusted EBITDA, and, more importantly, strong relative performance for the year.

"Our financial strength and differentiated business model allow us to manage our business for the long term. Our competitive position is strong, and our value proposition is especially relevant to consumers in this climate. We are focused on extending our leadership position and continuing to gain market share in this environment," Irvine concluded.

Selected Financial Highlights:
• The Company maintained its strong liquidity position and ended the year with cash and cash equivalents totaling $54.5 million.

• For the full year, international sales totaled $27.7 million, a 62.9% increase compared to sales of $17.0 million for fiscal year 2007. International sales totaled $6.9 million in the quarter, a decrease of 4.2% from the fourth quarter of 2007.

• Gross profit for the quarter totaled $17.7 million. As a percent of net sales, gross profit was 20.6% compared to 21.1% for the fourth quarter of 2007. The decrease in gross profit margin was due to the mix of sales in the quarter, with sales in the lower margin engagement jewelry category representing a larger portion of fourth quarter sales as compared to the prior year fourth quarter.

• Selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter were $12.4 million, compared to $13.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Selling, general and administrative expense for the quarter includes stock-based compensation expense of $1.8 million, compared to $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.


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