Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos announced Thursday that the company soon will open the first full-line brick-and-mortar store for online retailer James Allen. Signet acquired James Allen parent company, R2Net, in September 2017.
Akron, Ohio—Signet Jewelers Ltd. CEO Gina Drosos announced Thursday that the company will be opening a James Allen concept store and showroom in Washington, D.C., before the upcoming holiday season.

While the company declined to release specifics on location or exact timing, Drosos did say the store will be more technology-focused than Signet’s current stores.

The opening of a full-line brick-and-mortar location is a first for the online retailer; James Allen does have a showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York City, but that space is by appointment only.

The announcement of James Allen moving into brick-and-mortar came as Signet released its second quarter results Thursday morning.

Signet’s total sales hit $1.42 billion in the 13-week period ended Aug. 4, a 2 percent year-over-year increase. Same-store sales were up 2 percent as well.

In North America, comps rose 2 percent. The company’s same-store sales result includes sales on its own e-commerce sites as well as on JamesAllen.com, which recorded a 25 percent year-over-year increase in sales to $54.4 million.
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Leading the way among Signet’s brick-and-mortar businesses was Piercing Pagoda, with a same-store sales increase of 12 percent, followed by Zales at 7 percent. Jared the Galleria of Jewelry stores recorded a 1 percent increase in comps, while same-store sales at Kay Jewelers slipped 2 percent.

Bridal and fashion jewelry were the strongest sellers in the quarter, while sales of jewelry classified as “other,” including beads, declined. Signet is phasing out its “Charmed Memories” line of beads sold at Kay stores.

E-commerce sales (including James Allen) totaled $150.3 million, an 83 percent year-over-year increase. Online sales accounted for 11 percent of Signet’s sales in the second quarter.

The increases come as Signet is in the middle of a three-year turnaround plan launched in March and termed the “Path to Brilliance.”

Drosos said the retailer is “encouraged” by the results so far and is “modestly” raising its revenue and earnings guidance for the year. She added, though, that Signet is “remaining appropriately cautious” in its outlook as many of its Path to Brilliance initiatives are being launched later in the year.

Toward the conclusion of Thursday’s earnings call, the Signet CEO was asked about lab-grown gemstones, specifically lab-grown diamonds and if Signet had any interest in carrying them.

While Drosos echoed some of what she told Yahoo Finance in an April interview—that she believes consumers want a mined diamond for their engagement ring—she did not seemed closed to the idea of Signet carrying lab-grown diamonds in fashion jewelry.

She said there could be some “growing interest” in the fashion jewelry space for lab-grown diamonds, adding: “We will make sure Signet is well-positioned to participate in that space … if customers point us in that direction.”

Her philosophy on man-made diamonds sounds similar to one adopted by De Beers in launching its lab-grown line, Lightbox: lab-grown diamonds belong in lower-priced fashion jewelry given for occasions like graduation and Sweet 16, while mined diamonds are for engagement rings.

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