ADORNIS SCRAPS SITE

Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Another fine-jewelry e-tailer has gone off-line.
Confirming recent speculation that the firm was about to close, Adornis.com on Tuesday joined the ranks of pure players who just couldn’t keep the flow of investment capital coming.
“Effective today, we have laid off all employees including myself,” said Adornis.com president and chief executive officer Jeanne Daniel, speaking from her Connecticut home Tuesday morning. “Adornis is now in the hands of the Ganley Group.”
The Ganley Group, based in Galway, Ireland, is a web of investment and holding companies that are controlled by Adornis.com’s chairman and co-founder Declan Ganley.
Potential shoppers have been unable to consistently access the site since the weekend, but Daniel said she had been told the site was down for “technical difficulties, but I’m not certain that was the reason.”
Daniel also said an interim team had arrived from Ireland to “determine the future of Adornis” but that the Greenwich, Conn., office was closed. Repeated calls to Ganley at his base in Galway were not returned.
Since December 1999, the luxury-goods conglomerate Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG has owned a 20 percent stake in Adornis.com, which it acquired for $5 million. At the time, executives from Richemont claimed they had no interest in selling their own products on the site but had made the acquisition simply to learn more about e-commerce.
In June, the firm’s chief executive officer, Johann Rupert, quipped that he was still cautious about cyberspace, saying, “E-commerce should be approached like two porcupines making love — very carefully, gingerly and very slowly.”
Neither Rupert nor other executives from Richemont were available for comment on Tuesday.
As for the reasons behind the closure, Daniel said: “Our investors weren’t able to secure the capital we needed to continue. It’s the same hurdle all [e-tailers] face: raising capital in a timely basis to offset the expense of building brand awareness and driving people to the site. We hadn’t had any real marketing since May, but still experienced gratifying sales till the end.”
Besides Daniel, other members of the management team who were laid off are: Wallace Brooks, chief financial officer; Roy Albers, vice president of jewelry operations; Carolyn Kelly, vice president of product development; Kristin Sullivan, fine-jewelry buyer; Jo Maio, assistant buyer, and Marion Davidson, director of communications. In addition, three staff members from the company’s service center in Memphis were also laid off.
Daniel declined to provide information about the site’s recent pace of sales, and sources said information about sell-throughs had been difficult to come by for the last few months.

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