November 12, 2008, 12:00 AM

Bidz.com’s sales shine in a dark retailing world, but net income drops

Online jewelry retailer and auctioneer Bidz.com closed the books on a mixed third quarter with sales rising by 38.1%, but net income dropping by 8.3%. Bidz.com’s international sales also rose by 17.5% to $11.4 million from $9.7 million.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Online jewelry retailer and auctioneer Bidz.com Inc. closed the books on a mixed third quarter with sales rising by 38.1% but net income falling by 8.3%.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Bidz.com posted net income of $3.3 million on revenue of $55.4 million, compared with net income of $3.6 million on sales of $40.1 million in the prior year.

For the first three quarters of the year, Bidz.com, No. 74 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, recorded net income of $11.5 million on sales of $172.3 million vs. net income of $9.9 million on revenue of $123.9 million in the prior year. “We are fortunate to have had a successful quarter in what has been an increasingly difficult domestic environment for most retailers and consumer brands,” says Bidz.com CEO David Zinberg. “We have enough flexibility in our operating model to reduce variable costs when we see sales soften and increase spending when sales strengthen.”

In the third quarter, Bidz.com attracted slightly fewer buyers, but saw a small increase in average ticket size. For the quarter, Bidz.com serviced 54,072 new customers, compared with 55,423 in Q3 of 2007. The average ticket increased year-over-year to $175 from $173. “We are keenly focused on executing on our initiatives that will continue to enhance the Bidz.com customer experience in all areas, while capitalizing on the significant long-term opportunities for our business,” Zinberg says. “Our number one priority is meeting our profitability and earnings per share targets.”

During the quarter, Bidz.com launched an Arabic-language version of its web site. The Arabic version is accessible through an Arabic banner on the homepage. Bidz.com also hired Arabic-speaking personnel to assist customers. Two Arab countries, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, already rank in Bidz.com`s top 10 countries by sales. Bidz.com says it will use Internet and traditional advertising in the Middle East to market its Arabic site.

The push for more foreign sales is paying off. In the third quarter the online retailer’s international sales rose by 17.5% to $11.4 million from $9.7 million. For the first three quarters, international sales have increased by 43.5% to $39.9 million from $27.8 million in the prior year.

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