February 4, 2008 / 4:10 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Blue Nile to ship jewelry to Asia-Pacific, Europe

(Adds background, results, stock move)

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Online diamond retailer Blue Nile Inc NILE.O said on Monday it will start shipping its jewelry to 12 countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region through its existing UK and U.S. Web sites to expand its international reach.

New destinations — including Belgium, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland and Japan — were picked based on demand, online shipping rates and market size, Blue Nile said.

Previously, Blue Nile, which derives a big chunk of its business from selling diamond engagement rings at a discount to similar products at peer Tiffany & Co’s (TIF.N), shipped jewelry only to the United States, the UK and Canada.

The Seattle-based company noted that its international sales more than doubled to $17.2 million in 2007, with 150 percent growth in the fourth quarter alone.

Blue Nile intends to cater to consumers in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain through its UK Web site. Jewelry, which can be bought in British pounds, will be shipped out of its Ireland facility.

For other countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan, jewelry will be offered through its U.S. Web site in U.S. dollars.

The company said on its Web site that any customs fees, import duties or taxes that a country’s customs office charges would be borne by the customer.

Its stock was down 1.8 percent, or $1.05, at $58.39 on the Nasdaq amid a wider market sell-off. (Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; editing by Mark Porter/John Wallace)

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