National Jeweler Network

Financial Reporting

Blue Nile has showcase in second Nordstrom store

February 06, 2014

Seattle--Blue Nile announced Thursday that it has set up a second in-store display, this one in the Nordstrom bridal suite at Roosevelt Field, a large mall on New York’s Long Island.

Revealed during the company’s fourth quarter and full-year earnings conference call held Thursday morning, the display is “only a test,” said CEO Harvey Kanter--a point he emphasized twice--“But it underlines our pursuit to extend Blue Nile’s reach to the engagement ring customer and give them the opportunity to experience our high-quality products in person.”

Blue Nile’s first in-store display debuted last year at the Nordstorm flagship store in Seattle and marked the first time the Seattle-based online retailer had shown its products in a physical store.

RELATED CONTENT: Blue Nile now displaying its rings in a store

Kanter said the goal is to see if having a display of products in a physical store, and having a Blue Nile “diamond jewelry consultant” there to interact with consumers, will materially increase the e-tailer’s conversion rate.

The display is “inventory light,” meaning not very big, and for display only. Consumers must still buy from Blue Nile online, though the retailer does collect their email address at Nordstrom.

“While this is only a test we are excited about what this type of partnership could mean for the future of Blue Nile,” Kanter said Thursday.

In the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, Blue Nile’s sales increased 7 percent year-over-year from $136.1 million to $146.0 million. Engagement ring sales were up 7 percent to $78.7 million while non-engagement ring sales rose 8 percent to $45.9 million.

Gross profit totaled $27.2 million and was 18.6 percent as a percentage of net sales, compared with 18.8 percent in the fourth quarter 2012.

For the fiscal year, net sales reached $450.0 million, an increase of 13 percent compared with the prior fiscal year. Engagement ring sales rose 13 percent in the period while non-engagement net sales were up 9 percent.

Gross profit for the fiscal year totaled $83.7 million, up from $75.1 million in fiscal year 2012.

International sales rose 7 percent from $20.0 million to $21.4 million during the quarter and were up 17 percent, from $62.4 million to $73.2 million, in the fiscal year.

Though Kanter said in a statement issued Thursday that the company was pleased with its “continued momentum,” executives did acknowledge that their full-year sales came were at the low end of their expectations.

The sales shortfall was due, in part, to the shorter holiday shopping season. Consumers, the company said, did not have enough time for a “highly considered” jewelry purchase.

Blue Nile also noted that it has seen a pull-back in purchasing by consumers early in 2014.

Going forward, Blue Nile is focusing on mobile. Kanter said during the call that the company’s mobile commerce initiatives were not completed as planned in the fourth quarter and will continue to be fine-tuned going forward.

During the course of the quarter, the retailer said its mobile traffic topped 50 percent, and is coming more from tablet computers than smartphones. Blue Nile also is witnessing more revenue, a higher percentage of visits and a greater spend per person via mobile than it has in the past.

In addition, the e-tailer plans to add more designer jewelry to its inventory, following the success of its Monique Lhuillier-branded line of bridal rings, and also plans to launch a “designer collective” section of its site this year, an area dedicated specifically to different jewelry designers.