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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blue Nile Chairman to Step Down As Company Posts 5th Consecutive Quarter of Double-Digit Growth

Blue Nile Starlight Diamond Eternity Ring in platinum

Blue Nile, Inc. said Thursday that year-over-year net sales increased 18.7 percent to $108 million for the second quarter ended June 30. Operating income for the quarter totaled $3.4 million, representing an operating margin of 3.2 percent of net sales. Net income totaled $2.2 million, or $0.17 per diluted share. It’s the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, the company said.

In addition, the Seattle-based online retailer that specializes in diamonds and diamond jewelry announced that its founder, Mark Vadon, will step down from his role as chairman and director of the board effective December 31. Blue Nile President and CEO Harvey Kanter will assume the role of chairman.

"Founding and being a part of Blue Nile for the past 14 years has been a great honor, and I am tremendously proud of the entire team for fostering our culture of innovation and obsession over each and every customer," Vadon said. "After working with Harvey and his leadership team over the last year and seeing the impressive growth trajectory of the business, the entire board and I feel confident passing the chairmanship to Harvey to continue to build a global consumer brand."

"Mark revolutionized the diamond industry and founded Blue Nile on the principle that there is a better way to buy diamonds and fine jewelry by offering unique online tools, high quality diamonds, and incredible values," Kanter added. "That is and will always be his legacy, and the company will continue to execute his vision."

Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA for the quarter totaled $5.5 million. For the trailing 12-month period ended June 30, net cash provided by operating activities totaled $26.1 million compared to $18.7 million for the prior 12-month period. For the same period ended June 30, non-GAAP free cash flow totaled $22.9 million, as compared to $15.6 million for the prior.

Other second quarter highlights include:

* U.S. engagement net sales increased 22 percent to $63.9 million.

* U.S. non-engagement net sales increased 11.3 percent to $27 million.

* International net sales increased 19.1 percent to $17.1 million. Excluding the impact from changes in foreign exchange rates, international net sales increased 20.6 percent.

*Gross profit totaled $20.1 million. As a percent of net sales, gross profit was 18.6 percent compared to 18.9 percent for the second quarter of 2012.

* Selling, general and administrative expenses were $16.7 million, compared to $14.9 million in the second quarter of 2012. This figure includes stock-based compensation expense of $1.3 million for the second quarter in 2013 and 2012.

* Earnings per diluted share included stock based compensation expense of $0.07 compared to $0.06 for the second quarter of 2012.

* At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents totaled $47.3 million.

In its financial guidance, Blue Nile said it expects third quarter net sales are expected to be between $96 million and $100 million; and earnings per diluted share to run from $0.13 to $0.17.

For the 2013 fiscal year, net sales are projected to be between $440 million and $470 million; and earnings per diluted share are projected at $0.75 to $0.85.

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