Bluefly Cuts First Quarter Losses

New York–Online off-price retailer Bluefly reported Tuesday that sales have been boosted by a revival in the luxury market, narrowing first quarter losses by 52% to $1.5 million.
The company’s net revenues were up 2% to $20.2 mililon,  while its gross margin percentage increased to 41.2% from 34% in the same period last year.
Bluefly’s average order size was $279.94 in the first quarter, up on the $249.99 figure recorded in the first quarter of 2009.
“We are seeing a real revival in the luxury market, particularly with the launch of the spring season in March,” said Bluefly ceo Melissa Payner. “As the quarter progressed, we saw an increase in customer activity, as well as an increase in average order size, related to the revival of the luxury market.”

Online Spending On the Rise

The Bluefly results dovetail with another study released Tueday that shows a sharp increase in American consumer spending online last month as e-commerce growth continues to outpace high street sales.

Retail figures for April supplied by San Francisco-based MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse show online spending has risen for nine consecutive months compared to the previous year.

Online retail sales in the United States increased by 15.6% from April 2009, while the average value of an online transaction grew slightly by 0.2% from the previous year.

In the main however, April was a “mixed” month according to the data, said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis.  “E-commerce, luxury and electronics continue to drive high year-over-year increases. Most of the weakness in April’s data can be attributed to Easter occurring a week earlier this year, shifting demand into March.”

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