Blue Nile Adds 12 International Markets

Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile, Inc. said Monday it will offer international shipping service to 12 new countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan will be added to the growing roster of countries that the Seattle-based company is serving.

In 2007, Blue Nile’s international sales grew over more than 100 percent to $17.2 million, the company said.

“We are very excited to announce the next step in the company’s expansion into new markets,” said Mark Vadon, chief executive officer. “This launch allows us to build off of the success we have seen in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and, most of all, provides us with the opportunity to offer unmatched quality, selection, service and value to the more than 400 million residents in these markets.”

Over the past year, Blue Nile has invested significant effort into its international expansion strategy. In 2007, the company launched new Web sites in Canada and the U.K., enhancing its product offering and providing the ability to make purchases in each country’s local currency. In addition, it opened an office in Dublin, Ireland, with local customer service and fulfillment operations to better serve the company’s growing customer base in Europe.

Blue Nile’s decision to expand into twelve new markets was based on a number of relevant factors that included online shopping adoption rates, market size, and, most importantly, an increased demand from consumers.

Since the start of the company’s operations in 1999, Blue Nile has received repeated requests to ship to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the company said in a statement. Since the 2007 launch of its U.K. Web site and the opening of its Dublin office, these requests have grown to include numerous countries throughout Europe.

Blue Nile’s international business has grown significantly since the company initially launched in Canada and the U.K. The company’s international sales accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2007, growing more than 150 percent year over year, throughout multiple categories—including engagement, diamonds, pearls, and gemstone jewelry.

“International growth will remain a priority for Blue Nile going forward,” Vadon said. “We are excited about introducing the Blue Nile brand into these twelve new markets and will look to this expansion as a basis for pursuing future opportunities as we build out our business overseas.”

From its U.K. Web site, Blue Nile will offer free FedEx International Priority shipping service to Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. All shipments will be sent from the company’s Ireland facility and will be available for purchase in British Pounds.

From its U.S. Web site, Blue Nile will offer Free FedEx International Priority shipping service to Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and Taiwan. All shipments will be sent from the company’s U.S. facility and will be available for purchase in U.S. Dollars.