April 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Blue Nile, Red Envelope join PriceGrabber comparison site

Jewelry sales are growing on comparison shopping site PriceGrabber.com, where Blue Nile Inc.`s BlueNile.com and RedEnvelope Inc.`s RedEnvelope.com recently joined as participating e-retailers.

Jewelry sales are growing on comparison shopping site PriceGrabber.com, where Blue Nile Inc.`s BlueNile.com and RedEnvelope Inc.`s RedEnvelope.com recently joined as participating e-retailers. "Jewelry has been on our site for three weeks and is taking off faster than other new categories have in the past," PriceGrabber says.

The move to jewelry and retail clients like RedEnvelope and BlueNile known for selling high-end brands marks a shift for PriceGrabber, a spokeswoman says. "It used to be more of a problem to get retailers to join in and expose themselves, but now retailers are realizing they need to reach shoppers when they`re in a buying mood. And if they offer the right brand, people won`t care as much about price."

Other retailers in the new jewelry section include Home Shopping Network and Walmart.com. PriceGrabber has also added apparel and photographic equipment categories.

Jim Okamura, retail analyst with J.C. Williams in Chicago, says that although price-comparison sites can be an effective way to reach shoppers, high-end brands must consider how they might change their relationships with regular customers. "What retailers you`re around can impact your brand," he says. "You have to ask if this will change the emotional attachment consumers have with your brand that allows you to position your brand where you like it to be positioned."

PriceGrabber has organized its jewelry section into several categories, such as watches, rings and necklaces, each of which can be broken down by specific attributes such as manufacturer, metal alloy or gemstone.

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