RAPAPORT... Blue Nile's first-quarter sales rose 16.9 percent year on year to $97.1 million for the period that ended on March 31, while costs of sales jumped 17.2 percent to $79.5 million. The online retailer of diamonds and jewelry reported profit of $832,000, or 7 cents per share, compared with $154,000, or 1 cent per share, one year ago.
U.S. engagement jewelry sales jumped 19 percent year on year to $55.3 million and non-engagement sales rose only 7 percent to $24.2 million. International sales increased 25 percent to $17.6 million; however, excluding the impact from changes in foreign-exchange rates, the increase was 26 percent.
Gross profit as a percent of net sales fell to 18.2 percent from 18.4 percent. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter totaled $40.5 million, according to the company's statement.
Blue Nile provided guidance for the second quarter in which the retailer anticipates sales of $100 million to $105 million, representing a year-on-year increase of about 12 percent, and earnings per share of 13 cents to 17 cents, up from 11 cents per share reported a year before.
"We are pleased to announce significant revenue growth along with expanding profitability in the first quarter of 2013," said Harvey Kanter, the president of Blue Nile. "Clearly, our value proposition continues to resonate with consumers, both in the U.S. and internationally. We look to build on this momentum through our ongoing investments to enhance our customers' website experience, present a deep assortment of compelling products and provide world class customer service."