September 25, 2000 4:50 PM PDT

Online jeweler loses luster after lender forecloses

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Luxury goods site may be closing

September 22, 2000
Online luxury-goods store Miadora.com has closed its virtual doors and laid off its entire staff, a company representative confirmed today.

The company shut down Friday after one of its lenders foreclosed on the company, and is in the process of liquidating its assets, the representative said.

As reported earlier, Miadora posted a message on its site on Friday notifying customers that it had shut down, saying: "We appreciate your past support."

Although the company later on Friday replaced the message with the regular Miadora home page, the message reappeared today on the site.

Miadora and Jewelry.com, which it acquired in February, had a combined 77 employees.

Like most companies in the product category, online jewelers have had mixed results. Among Miadora's competitors are Ice.com (formerly Buyjewel.com) and Amazon-backed Ashford.com. Publicly held Ashford has seen its share price go from a 52-week high of $35 to its current $3.34.

Ashford announced Friday that it had closed on a three-year, $25 million loan from Congress Financial Corporation, a unit of First National Bank.

Many e-tailers are struggling to stay in business as capital becomes hard to find, now that investors have moved away from e-commerce stocks to less volatile holdings. Closures and layoffs have become common since the April stock downturn.

While many Net retailers are banking that the holiday shopping season will fuel new interest from investors in e-commerce, some in the industry are predicting that other e-tail firms will call it quits around Thanksgiving.

"If they know there is a high risk that they may not be able to fulfill orders, they may opt to jump out now," said one liquidation specialist, who asked to remain anonymous.

News.com staff writer Troy Wolverton contributed to this report.

 

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