Blue Nile Jumps as Third-Quarter Forecast Tops Estimates

Blue Nile Inc., an online retailer for diamonds and fine jewelry, rose the most since its initial public offering after forecasting sales for the third-quarter that topped analysts’ estimates.

The shares jumped 35 percent to $32 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since its IPO in May 2004. The stock has fallen 22 percent this year.

Net sales for the quarter ending Sept. 30 will be $87 million to $91 million, the Seattle-based company said in a statement yesterday. Analysts had projected $84.7 million, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We see significant and improving growth in the number of new customers to Blue Nile, building our user base and gaining greater scale for future growth,” Chief Financial Officer David Binder said on a conference call yesterday.

Sales in the second quarter rose 13 percent to $91 million, helped by an increase in demand for engagement rings in the U.S., according to the statement.

Net income fell 44 percent to $1.58 million, or 11 cents a share, from $2.84 million, or 19 cents, a year earlier, Blue Nile said.

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