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BlueNile Expands International While WebMD Expands Mobile Apps

Posted on Monday, Jun 23rd 2014

According to the latest IDEX report on the US jewelry and watch sales, the country’s total sales in April grew 2.4% over the year to $5.73 billion. Excluding watches, jewelry sales in April grew 2.2% over the year to $2.49 billion. Another report by IBISWorld estimates the global online sales of jewelry and watches to have grown 2.9% over the period 2008 through 2013 to $10 billion.

Blue Nile’s Financials
Online jeweler Blue Nile’s (Nasdaq: NILE) first quarter revenues grew 7% over the year to $103.7 million, falling short of the market’s estimates of $106 million. EPS of $0.08 was also better than the Street’s expectations of $0.07.

During the quarter, sales in the US for engagement products grew 8% to $59.7 million. The non-engagement category saw sales grow 8% as well to $26.1 million. Mobile sales are also improving. During the quarter, sales from mobile devices grew by 40% with revenue share for the quarter growing to 20%.

For the current quarter, Blue Nile expects revenues of $108 million-$113 million, compared with the Street’s projections of $112 million. They expect to end the quarter with an EPS of $0.18-$0.21, compared with the market’s estimate of $0.19 per share. Blue Nile projected the year’s revenues at $485 million-$510 million with an EPS of $0.85-$0.90 compared with the Street’s estimates of revenues of $491 million and an EPS of $0.88.

Blue Nile’s International Operations
For the quarter, Blue Nile’s international sales accounted for $17.9 million revenue and reported a modest 2% growth over the year. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates, international sales grew 6% over the year.

Blue Nile is pleased with their performance in the international markets, especially in China which helped drive strong growth in the Asian Pacific markets. Blue Nile expects that in the near future, China’s total addressable market (TAM) will exceed US’s TAM, thus proving to be a good growth market for them. They are already addressing this opportunity by expanding their infrastructure in the region.

Blue Nile’s Expanding Offerings
Finally, the company also continues to expand their product range and recently launched a collection called The Designer Collective. This line-up features a curetted collection of uniquely designed jewelry, including diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones. The collection has been designed exclusively for their customers from four designers besides their own Blue Nile studio line. Blue Nile has seen positive response from their customers for the collection and believes that by curetting for their customers, they will be able to extend their product assortment.

Their stock is trading at $28.91 with a market capitalization of $350.2 million. It touched a 52-week high of $49.14 in December last year.

WebMD’s Financials
Meanwhile, another online player WebMD (Nasdaq: WBMD) delivered strong quarterly results as well. First quarter revenues grew 19% over the year to $133.8 million, ahead of the Street’s target of $132 million. EPS of $0.27 was also ahead of the market’s projected EPS of $0.20.

By segment, public portal advertising sponsorship revenues grew from $93.4 million a year ago to $109.2 million. Private portal services revenue increased from $19.3 million to $24.6 million.

During the quarter, monthly unique visitors grew 32% over the year to 174 million and page views increased 26% to 3.5 billion.

For the current quarter, WebMD projected revenues of $137 million-$140 million, compared with the Street’s projections of $140 million.

WebMD’s Mobile Services
WebMD continues to strengthen their mobile offerings and recently released Medscape MedPulse, a new medical news app for iOS devices. The app provides the latest medical news and expert perspectives for healthcare professionals. It can be customized to meet the user’s interest requirements and features content from the Medscape’s editorial team. The app is also a pioneer in being able to integrate an automatically curated Twitter feed so that the users can receive real-time information on medical trends.

Earlier last week, they also released WebMD Healthy Target, another iPhone-based app that utilizes biometric device data from activity trackers, wireless scales, and glucose meters to deliver a health improvement program. The app uses biometric data to deliver tailored, physician-reviewed, contextually relevant content, and motivational tips to promote health-conscious habits. It is particularly helpful in managing conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity besides helping users achieve their fitness goals. The program will be in direct competition with offerings like Apple’s HealthKit platform, which was released recently as well and performs on a similar principle. The introduction of wearable technologies is driving tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google to introduce their versions of health-focused services that successfully utilize data collected from these devices with the user’s health goals.

WebMD’s stock is trading at $49.11 with a market capitalization of $1.88 billion. It touched a 52-week high of $51.41 in February this year.

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