Signet mulls jewellery Web site

Signet, owner of the Ernest Jones and H Samuel chains, is monitoring the online jewellery market closely to launch a site 'when the time is right'.

In online terms, Signet is behind its main UK competitors Beaverbrooks and Golds-miths, which has a partn-ership with Gerald Ratner, called

A Signet spokesman said: 'We already have informational and marketing Web sites and have people working in the field monitoring the situation.'

He said Signet would launch a site 'when we see a business model that makes sense', and when the jewellery market reached critical mass. He would not be drawn on a time frame.

However, a warning came from IMRG managing director Jo Tucker, who said other jewellery retailers are already making a success of the Internet.

'They (Signet) better embrace the Internet, because it's not going to go away,' she said.

'I can understand that Signet might think it is very difficult for customers to get the full impact of an item online, but I would refer them to QVC. They've got a huge online presence and it's particularly strong in jewellery.'

QVC sells jewellery online from a few pounds to more than£1,000.