Bluefly Inches Upward After Solid Q4

New York City-based e-tailer Bluefly (Nasdaq: BFLY) rose to US$1.38 in morning trading Wednesday, up 9 cents, after reporting that it had trimmed its losses for the fourth quarter ended December 31st and nearly doubled its revenues for the period.

Bluefly, which sells designer fashions and home furnishings at discount prices, attributed the strong fourth-quarter showing to a spike in online orders and a 38 percent reduction in advertising spending from the year-earlier quarter.

The e-tailer also said that it saw positive cash flow in December and increased its customer base by 236 percent in 2000, to over 185,000 from under 55,000 in 1999.

“The new records Bluefly set this quarter are meaningful because they are all based on metrics that help determine our profitability,” Bluefly chief executive officer Ken Seiff said.

“The fact that we narrowed our quarterly loss for the first time suggests to me that we have turned a corner,” Seiff added.

Bluefly said that its fourth-quarter net loss slid for the first time, decreasing to $5.36 million or $1.13 per share, from $5.69 million or $1.20 per share in the fourth quarter of 1999.

The company said that the reduction in net loss was due in part to increased gross margins, a slowdown in expense growth and a decline in customer acquisition costs.

Revenues for the period grew almost 90 percent, from $3.08 million in the year-ago quarter to $5.76 million.

For the year, net sales surged over 242 percent, to $17.51 million in 2000 from $5.11 million in 1999. However, net loss for the year also increased to $21.11 million, or $4.45 per share, from $13.19 million, or $2.83 per share, in 1999.

Despite receiving backing last year from financier George Soros, Bluefly has struggled to avoid being delisted by Nasdaq. Over the past year, Bluefly shares have plummeted from a 52-week high of $14.25 to trade as low as 38 cents.

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