Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile laid off 20 people last week, the equivalent of 19% of its work force, and announced it expects to be profitable by the fourth quarter of this year. The Seattle-based company says nearly a third of the layoffs were in customer service, and the rest were spread through the company. The last time the company laid off workers was in June 2000, when it cut 10 of 125 jobs.
Blue Nile CEO Mark Vadon says the company has pruned its operations and targeted its marketing sufficiently to reach the goal of profitability by the end of the year. The company expects to quadruple its 2000 revenues of $50 million without needing to hire additional employees. According to the company, 40% of Blue Nile's revenue now comes from repeat business and referrals, and in mid-February, sales increased 50% compared to the same period in 2000. The 22-month-old company also recently secured a three-year $15 million revolving line of credit from GE Capital.
- by Julia M. Duncan