What: Shares of Blue Nile (NASDAQ: NILE) were down 22.1% as of 11:30 a.m. EST Thursday after the online jewelry retailer reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter 2015 results.
So what: Quarterly revenue fell 4.8% year over year to $150 million, and translated to net income of $5 million, or $0.43 per diluted share. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) climbed 13.3% to just under $10 million.
Analysts, on average, were anticipating roughly the same earnings per share on higher revenue of $164.5 million.
Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter admitted revenue was "disappointing," but also noted Blue Nile achieved an eight-year high for earnings per share during the quarter.
"Revenue growth was challenged by continued weakness from high ticket purchases and foreign currencies," Kanter said, "as well as lower selling prices for our core engagement products. In spite of these challenges, we sold a record number of engagement rings, expanded gross margin rate, and drove success in our new Webroom."
To take away some of the sting, Blue Nile also announced a special cash dividend of $0.70 per share, payable on March 7, 2016 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 22, 2016.
Now what: In the meantime, for the current quarter Blue Nile expects revenue between $103 million and $106 million, and earnings per diluted share of $0.08 to $0.11. Analysts' consensus estimates called for earnings of $0.13 per share on revenue of $113. 2 million.
And things weren't much prettier looking further forward. For the full year 2016, Blue Nile anticipates revenue of $465 million to $495 million, and earnings per diluted share of $0.88 to $0.95. Wall Street, for its part, was looking for earnings of $1.05 per share on revenue of $522.4 million.
In the end, investors can take solace knowing Blue Nile is attempting to reward shareholders for their patience with capital returns, and is seeing traction with expense management, gross margin, and its new Webroom concept. In fact, in a separate press release on Thursday, Blue Nile also announced the first of up to four new Webrooms to be located at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York. Blue Nile Chief Merchandising Officer Julie Yoakum noted the first Webroom has already "greatly exceeded our expectations."
However, given its Q4 miss and Blue Nile's hefty guidance shortfall Thursday, it's also hard to blame investors for taking a step back from the stock today. At least the near term, I fear Blue Nile will remain at the mercy of current economic headwinds and today's challenging retail environment.