RAPAPORT... Blue Nile's sales rose 13 percent year on year to $90.98 million in the second quarter that ended on July 1, however, cost of sales increased 16 percent to $73.79 million. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit was 18.9 percent compared with 21.3 percent for the second quarter of 2011. Blue Nile reported net income of $1.58 million or 11 cents per share, down from $2.8 million or 19 cents per share one year ago.
Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $18.7 million on July 1, compared with $33.4 million for the trailing 12-month period one year ago. Blue Nile reported that the number of new customers rose 32 percent year on year during the second quarter.
By region, Blue Nile's sales in the U.S. jumped 13 percent year on year to about $76.6 million, while international sales rose 13 percent to $14.4 million. The online retailer disclosed that U.S. engagement sales for the second quarter rose to $52.4 million from $43.9 million one year earlier. But non-engagement sales were basically flat at $24.2 million.
Looking ahead to third quarter, Blue Nile anticipates net sales in the range of $87 million and $91 million and diluted earnings per share of between 10 cents and 14 cents. The company reported sales of nearly $75 million and profit of $1.9 million in the third quarter of 2011.
Harvey Kanter, the president of Blue Nile, said, ''We are pleased to report significant revenue growth along with improved profitability, and we are especially excited about the continued acceleration in the sales of engagement products. This affirms that our current strategy is working, particularly with favorable conditions in the diamond supply market. As we move forward, we are very excited about our plans to ignite growth in the sales of our non-engagement products through the evolution of our assortment.
''While we focus on executing our strategy, we are also leveraging our cash balance to enhance shareholder value. We purchased approximately 349,000 shares in the second quarter, and 1.5 million shares year to date through August 1, 2012, representing approximately 11 percent of the shares outstanding as of the end of last year. This underscores our belief in the long-term value of our business,'' he said.
Shares in Blue Nile close on August 2 at $23.75, down 1.7 percent on the day, however, at 4:30 in after hours trading, shares had leaped 18 percent to $28.