LJ International Inc. on Tuesday reported a 36 percent year-over-year increase in revenues for the third quarter ended September 30. Sales and income growth reflected an 83 percent rise in sales at LJI's ENZO retail chain of jewelry stores in China.
The Hong Kong based company makes gold, platinum, and sterling silver jewelry set with diamonds and precious and semi-precious stones at its plant in Shenzhen, China. It markets its jewelry primarily under the Lorenzo brand name to retailers in Europe and North America. It also sells jewelry through fine jewelers, discount chains, department stores, television shopping channels, and in about 100 of its own ENZO retail stores in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
The company said it expects fourth quarter 2010 sales for ENZO to increase 40 percent year-over-year, offsetting an approximately 15 percent decrease in wholesale revenues.
"Today's results clearly demonstrate how our retail-based growth strategy is succeeding as planned," said Yu Chuan Yih, LJI's chairman and CEO. "Our ENZO division is the primary driver of both sales growth and margin improvements at all levels, from gross to net profit. Retail sales also are rising not just from the opening of new stores but from significantly higher sales on per-store basis. With new financing in place to fund at least 60 new ENZO stores in 2011, LJI is on track to take advantage of continuing economic growth in China while holding its own as a leading jewelry wholesaler in slower-growing global markets."
LJI's company-wide revenues for the third quarter rose 36 percent year-over-year to $35.7 million. Retail revenues were up 83 percent to $21.1 million. Same store retail sales rose 13 percent for the period. Wholesale revenues were down less than 1 percent to $14.6 million.
Rising retail revenues reflected expanded store count (up to 124 at the end of the third quarter from 92 a year earlier) and growing consumer interest in ENZO jewelry lines coupled with the continued rise of disposable income in China's expanding economy.
As in past quarters, gross margins for retail revenues were substantially higher than wholesale. Gross retail profit in the third quarter of 2010 was $10.6 million, or 51 percent of retail revenues. Gross wholesale profit was $3.4 million, or 23 percent of wholesale revenues. Overall gross profit was $14 million, or 39 percent of revenues.
LJI's operating income for the third quarter of 2010 was $3.7 million, or 10 percent of revenues, up 188 percent from $1.3 million, or 5 percent of revenues, a year earlier. The improvement was due both to the sharp rise in higher-margin retail sales along with effective controls on sales, general and administrative expenses, the company said.
Retail operating income was $3.1 million, or 15 percent of retail revenues, up from $1 million, or 8 percent of retail revenues, a year earlier. Wholesale operating income was $1 million, or 7 percent of wholesale revenues, compared to $$500,000, or 4 percent of wholesale revenue, in the third quarter of 2009.