Archive for February, 2010

Recall Issued On Foldable Step Stools Sold By QVC

February 28, 2010

The manufacturer of foldable step stools sold by QVC has recalled the items after some of them cracked, causing users to fall and sustain injuries.

Kikkerland Design of New York voluntarily recalled its Easy-Fold and Easy-Store Step Stools in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

QVC sold about about 13,000 of the stools for $40 each. The step stools can crack or break, posing a fall hazard to consumers, according to the recall information.

There have been nine reports of the stools cracking or breaking, resulting in four reports of injuries including ankle sprains and contusions.

The tops of the foldable step stools have white polka dots and were sold as a set of two, including 9-inch and 15-inch stools. The grey 9-inch stool has a sticker with model number ZZ09-GR on the front, and the brown 15-inch stool has a sticker with model number ZZ08-BR on the front. Only stools sold by QVC are included in this recall.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled step stools. If the step stools were purchased at a QVC store, consumers should return the product to any QVC store to receive a full refund.

Consumers who purchased the step stools through a QVC television program or qvc.com were mailed instructions on how to receive a refund.

For more information, contact QVC at (800) 367-9444 between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET daily, or visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.qvc.com

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. They can register those complaints by visiting http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx.

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HSN Celebrity Chef Todd English Still Has Taste For Asian Woman, According To New York Post

February 27, 2010

The New York Post must save a spot in its Page Six gossip column each Saturday for an item on HSN celebrity chef Todd English.

Ever since English left his bride-to-be, Erica Wang, at the altar last October, the Post has been writing about him. Most of those tidbits have been about English kicking up his heels at some joint having a good ol’ time, not mourning his nasty break-up with Wang.

Today Page Six wrote about a possibly touchy subject: English’s “taste for Asian beauties.” His jilted bride Wang is of Asian descent, and today’s item says English was spotted in Las Vegas at American Fish “chatting up” an Asian woman at the bar there.

Page Six added that on Wednesday, Todd was seen with “another Asian stunner” while flying from Sin City to the other sin city, South Beach.

We’ve read stories by Asian woman talking about the sexual stereotypes Caucasian men have about them, and how they feel about those myths.

We’re half Puerto Rican, so we’re aware of the Latin spitfire, Madonna-whore, notions that men have about Hispanic women. We once went to a party for a Spanish-language cable network, and we ran into men who were essentially there just to meet the Latina hot tamale of their dreams.

It gave us the creeps. You couldn’t tell if the guy was interested in you, or the Latin stereotype he had in his head.

Donald Trump’s Wife Melania Is Debuting a Watch-Jewelry Line On QVC Next Month

February 26, 2010

Melania and Donald Trump at an event for Vogue

Melania Trump, the wife of Manhattan real estate mogul and “Survivor” taskmasker Donald Trump, is coming to QVC.

The stunning former model (and fellow Taurus) will premiere her debut line, “Melania, Timepieces and Fashion Jewelry,” April 30 at 9 p.m.

Melania has designed her collection for QVC. Each item will retail for less than $200, “offering style and luxury at a consumer-friendly price,” according to the home shopping network.

Trump’s women love their jewelry. His daughter from his first marriage, Ivanka, does a collection of pricey, fine jewelry. She has a shop on Madison Avenue.

On QVC Last Night, Joan Rivers Says Tiger Woods Rubs A Hooker For Good Luck

February 25, 2010

Joan Rivers was in rare form Wednesday night when she was on QVC with host Rick Domeier, and had us and Rick laughing out loud with her jokes about Tiger Woods and his hookers.

Is started out innocently enough, with Rivers showing off what must be her 1,000th interpretation of her signature bee pin. This one was called the “Buzzing Brightly” bee pin, and Rivers cited bees as a good luck charm.

Then Domeier opened the door, as lawyers say in court. He said that many athletes have lucky charms or rituals they do for good luck, like hitting the plate three times with a bat when they’re up to hit.

“Tiger Woods always hits a hooker on the head,” Rivers said, pretending she was Woods by saying, “Where’s my lucky hooker? I want to rub her. You rub worry beads. I want to rub my hooker.”

The camera stayed off Domeier, but you could hear him hysterically laughing in the background, along with us. Here’s the video.

While her comments may not sit well with QVC management, Rivers certainly gives it her all to promote her QVC jewelry. On Wedesday morning she had worn one of her necklaces, a large three-strand beaded piece, on “The Regis and Kelly Show.”

“He said, ‘I want one for Joy (Philbin’s wife),” Rivers said, adding that Kelly Ripka had also requested one of the $70 necklaces, too.

Last night Rivers also showed photos of herself wearing the necklace at the Sundance Film Festival, and she has it on for “The Rachael Ray Show” that she taped this week, to air next week.

Last night Rivers was also selling a huge cocktail ring, at $49, that she wore when she was roasted on Comedy Central.

“The roasts are bawdy, and I knew it was going to be bawdy,” Rivers said of the X-rated event.

As for the jewelry, she said, “What a nice way to give someone the finger, by wearing this ring.”

We Hate To Break It To You, Fellow Jewelry Lovers, But It Looks Like Another Year Of Boring Laptops, B. Makowksy Bags and Wii On QVC

February 25, 2010

Mike, enough with the Clarisonic, cause we don't care if it's one of Lisa's favorite things

QVC had a great fourth quarter, which is good for the home shopping network but bad for jewelry geeks like us.

The U.S. channel, a unit of John Malone’s Liberty Media, Thursday reported a 13 percent jump in revenue to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

“We posted our strongest quarterly results in over 10 years, and moved our full-year results into positive territory,” QVC CEO and president Mike George told analysts during a conference call Thursday.

And George got a pat on the back from his boss, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei.

“At Liberty Interactive, QVC had a very impressive fourth quarter, which capped a greatly improved 2009 overall,” Maffei said.

Why is all this bad news for bling lovers? George said that QVC saw the revenue gains because it posted strong sales on consumer electronics, kitchen and floor care, beauty, accessories and fashion jewelry. Apparel, while soft, improved significantly over the trend for prior quarters, according to George.

“Jewelry, especially gold, did remain difficult, however,” he said, at one point noting, “We continue to pull back our time on jewelry.”

That means more Wii and Clarisonic shows, not sterling and gold (fashion jewelry doesn’t count). Break out the No-Doz.

George spent quite a bit of time crowing about Isaac Mizrahi joining the QVC family, but offered no numbers on how well the designer’s extensive line of products have sold.

“Compelling exclusive content is powering our business,” he said, calling the debut of the Mizrahi line as “one of the biggest brand launches in our history.”

QVC also premiered Godiva chocolate, NARS cosmetics, Stephen Dweck diamonds and fashions by celebrity styliest Rachel Zoe in the fourth quarter, said George, who boasted that the channel in its history had never had the level of publicity and buzz it got in the final quarter.

Veteran brands on QVC — B. Makowsky, Rachael Ray, Philosophy, Bobbi Brown and Dennis Basso in fashion — performed well in the quarter, according to George.

Some 720,000 new customers joined QVC in the fourth quarter (which we presume means they made purchases), a 22 percent increase in the number of new customers a year ago. Revenue from new customers was up 53 percent from last year.

“At any given point in time we have 10 non-customers watching QVC for every customer watching QVC,” George said. “So when we get it just right, and get the right kind of products that have high appeal to new names, as we did in Q4, you can really get explosive growth without any additional advertising or other support, just by people coming by the channel.”

He also attributed some of QVC’s fourth-quarter success to the more favorable channel position it now has on DirecTV and Dish Network, and the fact that the network’s HDTV channel is now in more than 25 million homes.

In December QVC launched an iPhone application that’s been downloaded by 115,000 customers in a little over two months, George said.

Santa Was Good to QVC: It Posts 13 Percent Revenue Gain In Fourth Quarter

February 25, 2010

QVC in the United States had a great holiday season, with revenue up 13 percent in the fourth quarter and 2 percent for last year, its parent Liberty Media reported Thursday.

“QVC’s management team did an extraordinary job and delivered impressive results,” Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei said in a prepared statement.

In the fourth quarter QVC’s domestic sales increased 13 percent to $1.7 billion and 2 percent for the year to $5.0 billion. Adjusted OIBDA increased 32 percent to $371 million in the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year to $1.1 billion. For the quarter and the year, the mix of products shifted from the jewelry and apparel product areas to home and, to a lesser extent, the accessories product areas.

“QVC’s fourth quarter results are outstanding,” QVC president and CEO Mike George said in a press release. “We grew revenue and profitability at one of the highest rates in the last decade and are showing improving trends in all markets…In the fourth quarter we debuted our Isaac Mizrahi lifestyle brand along with several other leading brands and designers, and experienced the most successful Black Friday event in QVC history.”

The average selling price for the fourth quarter increased 4 percent from $48.33 to $50.37 with the total number of units sold increasing 6 percent to 35.2 million from 33.2 million. For the year, the average selling price increased 2 percent from $47.94 to $49.01 and the total number of units sold declined 3 percent to 108.7 million from 112.5 million.

Returns as a percent of domestic sales decreased to 16 percent from 18 percent for the fourth quarter and to 18 percent from 19 percent for the year due to the sales mix moving from jewelry and apparel to home products, which typically have a lower return rate.

QVC.com sales as a percentage of domestic sales increased from 28 percent to 31 percent for the quarter and from 25 percent to 29 percent for the year.

The domestic adjusted OIBDA margin increased 306 basis points to 22 percent for the quarter and remained relatively consistent at 22 percent for the year. The increase for the quarter was primarily due to a higher gross margin percentage resulting from more efficient warehouse operations and freight savings as well as favorable customer service expenses and the leverage of fixed costs.

QVC’s consolidated revenue, which includes its international home shopping channels, increased 14 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.4 billion and 1 percent to $7.4 billion for the year. Adjusted OIBDA increased 27 percent to $530 million in the fourth quarter and 4 percent to $1.6 billion for the year, while operating income increased 40 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

“The fourth quarter was the first quarter since Q1 of 2008 when every country posted positive revenue growth in local currency,” George said. “We are also encouraged that our results show a balanced performance, with strong gains in top and bottom line results indicative that growth is due to both compelling, exclusive content as well as aggressive cost management.”

QVC’s international revenue increased 15 percent iin the fourth quarter to $751 million from $655 million, including the impact of favorable exchange rates in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. For the year, international revenue remained flat at $2.4 billion despite the unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates in the United Kingdom and Germany and including favorable exchange rates in Japan.

QVC intends to launch its television programming in Italy in the fourth quarter. Included in the international adjusted OIBDA results for the fourth quarter and the year ended Dec. 31 are $2 million and $5 million, respectively, of costs related to the expected launch of the QVC Italy service.

“QVC’s global market position will be further strengthened in 2010 with the launch of QVC Italy and the implementation of our technology makeover including our global eCommerce platform, customer relationship and call center management platform and our multi-media infrastructure,” George said.

Excluding the effect of exchange rates, international revenue increased 6 percent in the UK, 8 percent in Germany and 4 percent in Japan in the fourth quarter and increased 2 percent in the UK, 3 percent in Germany and 1 percent in Japan for the year.

International adjusted OIBDA increased 19 percent to $159 million in the fourth quarter and 4 percent to $451 million for the year. International adjusted OIBDA margins increased 70 basis points for the quarter and 80 basis points for the year due primarily to favorable gross margins.

The fourth quarter gross margin increased due primarily to favorable warehouse operations across each market and a reduction in realized inventory foreign exchange losses, particularly in the UK. The gross margin increased for the year due primarily to lower warehouse costs and a favorable obsolescence provision across each market.

Excluding the impact of exchange rates, QVC’s international adjusted OIBDA increased 10 percent in the fourth quarter and 5 percent for the year.

QVC UK’s revenue increased 6 percent and 2 percent in local currency in the fourth quarter and for the year, respectively. The UK’s average selling price in local currency increased 1 percent for the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year and units sold increased 4 percent for the fourth quarter but declined 2 percent for the year.

QVC UK experienced a higher gross margin in the fourth quarter and the year due primarily to a favorable obsolescence provision, lower warehouse expenses and a reduction in realized inventory foreign exchange losses.

QVC Germany’s revenue grew 8 percent and 3 percent in local currency in the fourth quarter and for the year, respectively. QVC Germany’s average selling price in local currency increased 3 percent for the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year and units sold increased 5 percent for the fourth quarter but declined 1 percent for the year.

QVC Germany experienced a lower gross margin in an effort to move less productive inventory and an unfavorable obsolescence provision, partially offset by favorable warehouse costs. For the year, Germany’s gross margin increased due to a favorable obsolescence provision and warehouse costs partially offset by a lower product margin.

QVC Japan’s revenue rose 4 percent and 1 percent in local currency in the fourth quarter and for the year, respectively. QVC Japan achieved growth of 17 percent in units sold for the quarter and 9 percent for the year with the average selling price in local currency declining 12 percent and 7 percent for the fourth quarter and year, respectively.

For the fourth quarter, Japan experienced sales growth in accessories, apparel and health and beauty categories and declines in sales of jewelry and home products. For the year, Japan experienced sales growth in the accessories, apparel and jewelry categories and declines in sales of home, health and beauty products.

New York Post Paints QVC’s New Design Star Isaac Mizrahi As More Than A Bit Bitchy

February 24, 2010

The New York Post is offering up some dish on QVC’s new in-house designer, Isaac Mizrahi. And it doesn’t match the folksy, likeable persona that he shows viewers on QVC.

The dirt comes in the Post’s story Wednesday about William McComb, the relatively new CEO of Liz Claiborne, Mizrahi’s primary roost before his switch to soup-to-nuts, housewares-to-clothing, designer for QVC. McComb has had his hands full at Liz Claiborne, with the founders of its pricey Juicy Couture line storming out a month ago.

The Post says the Juicy Couture folk were irked that profits from their company were being used to pay for Mizrahi to rejuvenate the Liz Claiborne line. The Juicy girls were also miffed that their brand’s financial success was essentially footing the bill for Claiborne to bring “Project Runway” star Tim Gunn on board as its chief creative officer, whatever that title means.

Then the Post nails Mizrahi. It says that the curly-topped designer was a big “headache” to McComb, “delivering a giant flop with an overly trendy relaunch of Liz Claiborne last spring.”

The Post also claims that Mizrahi was none too happy about Gunn’s appearance on the scene, “complaining that Gunn was getting too much attention touring shopping malls and shilling for the label.”

So Liz Claiborne put the kibosh on Gunn’s appearances, according to the Post. But despite his alleged griping about Gunn, Mizrahi himself didn’t want to go out and do the Claiborne dog-and-pony shows for the unwashed masses at the nation’s new town squares, malls.

“It was like pulling teeth” to get Mizrahi to do public appearances for Claiborne, a source told the Post.

So which is it? Is Isaac just a down-to-earth, touchy-feely, likable and talented guy from Brooklyn, a prima donna that is a pain in the butt to work with, or both?

We’ll be like Fox News Channel (perish the thought, we’d rather burn in hell), and let you decide.

ShopNBC CFO Elsenbast Resigns To Join New Company, McGrath Named Interim CFO

February 23, 2010

ShopNBC senior vice president and chief financial officer Frank Elsenbast resigned Monday, and is leaving the network to accept a chief financial officer position at another public company, officials said Tuesday.

The executive search firm Spencer Stuart will begin looking immediately for a replacement for Elsenbast, who will remain with
ShopNBC for an interim period to ensure an orderly transition in responsibilities. ShopNBC’s press release didn’t disclose where Elsenbast was going.

ShopNBC's interim CFO Bill McGrath

ShopNBC has appointed Bill McGrath, 52, ShopNBC’s vice president of quality assurance and former vice president of finance and global sourcing of QVC, as interim CFO. McGrath will assume financial management functions until a new chief financial officer is named.

“I have enjoyed my time at ShopNBC,” Elsenbast said in a canned statement. “I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful group of people, and I wish everyone all the best for continued success.”

McGrath joined ShopNBC Jan. 7. Most recently, McGrath served as vice president of global sourcing operations and finance at QVC. During his tenure at QVC, he also served as vice president corporate quality assurance and quality control, vice president merchandise operations and inventory control, vice president of market research and sales analysis, and director financial planning and analysis.

Prior to QVC, McGrath served at Subaru of America as assistant corporate controller and Arthur Andersen as senior auditor. He earned an MBA in Finance from Drexel University and a BS in Accounting from St. Joseph’s University. McGrath is also certified as a CPA and CMA.

According to an 8-K filed Tuesday by ShopNBC, McGrath old compensation terms of will remain in effect while he is serving as interim chief financial officer. He received a signing bonus of $20,000, and his current annualized base salary is $175,000. He also received stock options to purchase 45,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $4.97, equal to the closing fair market value per share as of the date of grant. The options vest in equal installments over three years and are exercisable for a period of 10 years from the date of grant.

“Frank has been a valued partner as CFO during his tenure and played an important role since joining the company in 2000,” ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said in a prepared statement. “I’d like to thank him for his dedicated service and many contributions to ShopNBC. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

HSN Alum Daniel Kiviat Debuts On ShopNBC This Week

February 23, 2010

Another HSN veteran veteran has made his way to ShopNBC.

Fashion designer Daniel Kiviat, who we remember from years ago on the Southern Channel, as home shopping geeks call it, will debut on ShopNBC Feb. 25 with a line of clothes called Encore.

A couple of his items are already on ShopNBC’s Web site, including a gathered-front jersey top at $41.

QVC And John Hardy Deny That The Upscale Silver Designer Is Planning A Jewelry Line For The ‘Q’

February 22, 2010

Both QVC and John Hardy said there’s nothing cooking between them, and that the luxury silver designer isn’t going to sell jewelry on the home shopping network.

“To my knowledge, there are no plans to launch a John Hardy line with QVC,” network spokeswoman Erin Mulholland said Monday.

And on Wednesday, we heard from Manhattan reps for the John Hardy company, which actually makes its jewelry and has its studio in Bali.

“QVC is as great company and we have a lot of respect for what they are doing,” Edith Bagda from John Hardy’s marketing department said in an e-mail. “Currently we have no plan to launch our handmade jewelry through their channel.”

We did a blog citing a QVC jewelry forum post that said host Lisa Robertson had been overheard at a QVC party saying that Hardy was coming to the No. 1 home shopping channel.

That person better do a better job of eavesdropping next time.

Anyway, can’t you John Hardy folk think about doing a lower-priced line for QVC? That’s the only way we can afford your gorgeous cuffs, which we adore and gaze at in Neiman Marcus. Robert Lee Morris took the plunge, why not you guys?