Cranston, R.I.–based fine jewelry chain Ross-Simons is rebranding itself to reflect an upscale shift in its merchandising. Ten of its 14 stores, which dot shopping centers from Massachusetts to North Carolina, will be rechristened Sidney Thomas Jewelers by the start of August 2013.
The company’s three outlet locations, along with the Ross-Simons flagship in Warwick, R.I., will remain branded as Ross-Simons. And the Ross-Simons e-commerce and catalog businesses will live on. “We might even open new Ross-Simons stores at some point,” says CEO and president Darrell Ross, whose father, Sidney Thomas Ross, founded the company in 1952.
A Ross-Simons store (courtesy of Ross-Simons)
Rumors that the company is being sold have been swirling, but a public relations spokesperson informed JCK this morning that “Ross-Simons is not being sold.”
The decision to target a more upscale customer was easy, says Ross, who compares the debut of Sidney Thomas to Toyota launching the higher-end Lexus brand. “We had been noticing recently that our retail sales were evolving. The customer was looking for better quality, more branded merchandise. They also want brands with more selective distribution, that are harder to find.” And when it comes to diamonds, he adds, “they want the G-H SI1 diamond, not the H-I I1.”
Brands represented at Sidney Thomas Jewelers will include Roberto Coin, Charriol, and Mikimoto, as well as “the finest luxury Swiss watches,” according to a company statement. The revamped shops will also showcase a collection of estate jewelry pieces that will be regularly updated. The store’s new tagline will be “Choose beautifully.”
Ross doesn’t believe the Ross-Simons brand has been downgraded in recent years, but that it has always appealed to “customers from all price ranges looking for a wide selection of product and high perceived value,” he says. “We’ll now have two great brands, both speaking to an affluent customer, but from a different points of view.”
Stores switching to the new Sidney Thomas brand will receive a new color palette, some light remodeling, and a new logo and signage. An accompanying website for the brand will debut in early August. “It will be elegant and world-class,” notes Ross.