Archive for February, 2012

QVC’s Big Bonanza Silver Sale Not So Big Anymore

February 29, 2012

QVC’s Big Bonanza Silver Sale used to be a bid deal. Now, with silver prices soaring, not so much.

The No. 1 home shopping network used to devote 24 hours to its silver and gold events. Now, those jewelry events have been pared way back.

Note to QVC CEO Mike George: If you had more jewelry events, maybe your jewelry sales wouldn’t be sagging, as you reported during a recent fourth-quarter conference call.

QVC already has a preview of its Bonanza Silver items online. The TV event kicks off tomorrow, Thursday.

QVC is promising “spring’s hottest looks in sterling silver jewelry. Enjoy new debuts and additional designs — all on sale — from some of your favorites.”

Big Bonanza Silver started at midnight, running through6 a.m.; then from 9 a.m. to noon; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m. – to midnight.

Weekend Quickies: QVC Host Lisa Robertson’s Red Hot Dress And Eva Longoria And HSN

February 26, 2012

We’re totally behind in our list of weekend chores, and can’t find our checkbook, to boot, so this will be brief.

Props to designer Mark Zunino for designing the sexy, strapless red column dress that QVC host Lisa Robertson wore Friday night for the network’s “Live From the Red Carpet” event out in Beverly Hills. The dress looked like it was painted on Robertson, and the whole look reminded of Jessica Rabbit.

She looked fantastic. Check out her Facebook page for photos.

Also, according to HSN’s March program, it will have “Desperate Housewive’s” actress Eva Longoria in the house selling her own line of perfume.

Stay tuned.

Drusy Does Good For QVC In The Fourth Quarter, And The Network’s ‘Hipness’ Factor

February 24, 2012

The holiday season last year was pretty merry for QVC.

Domestic QVC’s revenue increased 4 percent to $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter last year and 3 percent to $5.4 billion for the full year, the company reported Thursday.

Gross product revenue increased 4 percent compared to the prior year fourth quarter, average selling price (“ASP”) increased 8 percent from $56 to $60.35 and units sold declined 3 percent.

U.S. revenue, however, maintained a 4 percent increase overall due to an 8 percent increase in shipping and handling revenue as a result of a price increase implemented in the fourth quarter.

For the full year, gross product revenue increased 4 percent compared to the prior year due to a 9 percent increase in ASP from $51.19 to $55.74 and a 4 decline decline in units sold. The decline in units sold resulted in a decline in shipping and handling revenue bringing the overall revenue growth down to 3 percent.

Fourth quarter and full year sales showed strength in electronics, home and accessories products. For the full year, these increases were partially offset by a decline in jewelry product sales.

DECLINE IN JEWELRY! That probably means QVC will be cutting back on it even more! Damn.

In the fourth quarter, QVC’s eCommerce revenue increased 16 percent to $712 million and increased to 40 percent from 36 percent as a percentage of total domestic revenue. For the year, eCommerce revenue increased 15 percent to $2 billion and increased to 37 percent from 33 percent as a percentage of total U.S. revenue.

“QVC’s success in 2011 is a result of our strategy to engage customers with compelling content and unique products at a great value. This focus has allowed us to expand our global market leadership in video and eCommerce retail, despite a tough economy,” QVC president and CEO Mike George said in a canned statement.

“We gained new customers at a record pace by engaging people who love to shop across all our platforms,” he said. “We sustained our 10 quarter track record of double digit eCommerce growth, and established ourselves as a global leader in mobile retail.”

George had plenty to say about QVC during the conference call today with analysts. Here are quotes from a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha,

“We introduced 3.1 million new customers to our brand worldwide and achieved a strong 14 percent growth in revenue from new customers for the year,” George said on the call. “We took our content to the next level with destination remote broadcast for the Oscars, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and Fashion’s Night Out in New York, we partnered with Vogue for 25 to Watch campaign. And we built ‘In The Kitchen with David’ into one of the most popular cooking shows on any network.”

He added, “And we continue to drive growth through an assortment of highly differentiated product offerings. This is [Wen] in hair care with it’s devoted following, Liz Claiborne in New York and Susan Graver in apparel. In jewelry the breakout drusy gem category along with prestige launches like John Hardy and Heidi Klum … In kitchen electrics and consumer electronics, we saw great success with the wide assortment of tablets and e-readers from the Dell Streak to the Toshiba Thrive, the Nook in the iPad.”

Love the drusy.

Matt Harrigan of Wunderlich Securities, who we interviewed when we were working for Multichannel News, had an amusing question.

“I guess as QVC recasts itself and I guess becomes even hipper, if that’s possible, in terms of the customers, are you seeing even more evolution in the product categories you are trying to emphasize, balancing the bar bell of the new customers and the established homes … in terms of the what they are like?” Harrigan asked.

George answered the question.

“All the initiatives we are pursuing we see as giving us gains, both with existing customers and new customers,” he said. “So part of it is this platform expansion being available in more places. eCommerce new customers are younger than TV new customers, mobile customers are younger than eCommerce new customers. We have a disproportionate share of new customers coming in through various forms of eCommerce. That’s part of it, both in businesses like beauty has driven in a younger customer and a lot of the things we do to create buzz and publicity, including our Oscars event tonight. I think all of that’s a broader range of customers.”

George continued. “So we continue to feel good about how our brand is being positioned and feel like we continue to sort of broaden the relevance of the brand across all age groups. One of the things I’ve shared in the past is that the average age of our new customer is slightly younger than the average age of adult female population. I don’t know if that trend will accelerate, but we think we will see it continue.”

QVC’s consolidated revenue, which includes the domestic home shopping network and all the international ones, increased 5 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.6 billion and 6 percent to $8.3 billion for the year.

QVC’s international revenue increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter to $857 million and increased 11 percent to $2.9 billion for the year. The fourth-quarter results included the negative impact of the strengthening of the US dollar against the euro and pound sterling that was offset by the weakening of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen, whereas the full-year results included the positive impact of favorable exchange rates in each of QVC’s markets.

QVC Japan’s market has rebounded after the tragic events experienced in March with positive sequential full year and fourth-quarter growth compared to the same periods in 2010, with fourth-quarter revenue being the highest in QVC Japan’s history.

QVC Japan’s revenue grew 6 percent and 1 percnt in local currency in the fourth quarter and the full year, respectively. The increase in the fourth quarter was due to increased sales primarily in electronics, home and apparel. For the full year, increased sales in apparel were offset by declines in jewelry and beauty.

margin decline of 69 basis points for the year was primarily due to the negative leverage impact associated with lower sales as a result of the events experienced in March 2011.

QVC Italy continues the trend upward with a 56% sequential sales growth in local currency over the third quarter of 2011 driven primarily by sales in the home, beauty, jewelry and apparel product categories during the year. QVC Italy successfully launched an eCommerce and mobile optimized website in the quarter to strong consumer response and will seek to continue to build a leading multiplatform business in Italy.

In Recapitalization, QVC Becomes Part Of Tracking Stock Liberty Interactive

February 24, 2012

The things we do for you home shopping geeks, like wade through boring financial statements.

Thursday QVC not only announced its fourth-quarter earnings, it did some fancy footwork with its stock, for any masochists who are interested. You wade through it.

Here’s the press release:

Liberty Interactive Corporation Announces Plan to Recapitalize into Two Tracking Stocks

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Liberty Interactive Corporation (Nasdaq: LINTA, LINTB) (“Liberty”) today announced that its board of directors has approved the recapitalization of its common stock into shares of the corresponding series of two new tracking stocks, Liberty Interactive and Liberty Ventures.

“We are pleased to announce the Board’s approval to recapitalize Liberty into two tracking stocks,” said Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty. “We expect this recapitalization to highlight each tracking stock’s operations and financial aspects of the attributed assets, provide greater investor choice, and raise capital while maintaining an optimal capital and tax efficient structure for Liberty.”

The Liberty Interactive tracking stock group initially will have attributed to it QVC, the eCommerce companies, a 34% stake in HSN, approximately $500 million of cash, $2 billion principal amount of QVC’s bonds, QVC’s $2 billion bank credit facility and approximately $1.1 billion principal amount of Liberty’s publicly traded senior notes and debentures. Cash to be attributed to Liberty Interactive and Liberty Ventures will come from various sources including cash on hand, cash from operations and proceeds from QVC’s bank credit facility with an expected balance at closing of $1.3-1.5 billion.

The Liberty Ventures tracking stock group initially will have attributed to it Liberty’s interests in Expedia, TripAdvisor, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, AOL, Interval Leisure Group, and Liberty’s green-energy investments, approximately $1.25 billion of cash, additional cash raised from the exercise of Liberty Ventures subscription rights, and approximately $3 billion principal amount of Liberty’s publicly traded exchangeable debentures.

In the recapitalization, Liberty stockholders will receive one share of the corresponding series of Liberty Interactive group tracking stock for each share of series A or series B Liberty common stock they own and one share of the corresponding series of Liberty Ventures group tracking stock for every 20 shares of series A or series B Liberty common stock they own. In addition, stockholders will also receive a subscription right to acquire one additional series A or series B share for every three shares of series A or three shares of series B Liberty Ventures tracking stock they receive in the recapitalization.

Here is how Maffei explained the move in a conference call today with analysts.

“With Liberty Interactive you’re going to be able to get a pure play video and eCommerce company better aligned with our retail eCommerce peers … With Liberty Venture we hope to better highlight some of the investments we have here that may have been overlooked due to their relative small size compared to QVC …”

Mindy, Mindy: HSN Reports Flat Sales In the Fourth-Quarter Last Year

February 24, 2012

It looks like the fourth quarter last year wasn’t just tough for ShopNBC, which saw a dougle-digit decline in sales. It was no picnic for HSN, either.

Both HSN and QVC reported their fourth-quarter earnings Thursday. HSN’s sales were basically flat, only up a hair, o.4 percent, to $693.2 million. In contrast, QVC saw a 4 percent increase, to $1.8 billion.

HSN’s explanation for its lack of revenue growth: “Sales grew primarily in electronics and home design, offset by sales declines in fashion and wellness. The average price point decreased 2 percent and the units shipped increased 4 percent primarily due to mix shifts within categories.”

For the full year 2011, HSN’s net sales increased 2 percent, to $2.2 billion. Domestic QVC’s revenue increased 3 percent, to $$.41 billion.

In the fourth quarter, HSN’s gross profit increased 3 percent to $211.9 million. Gross profit margin improved 90 basis points to 33.2 percent from 32.3 percent. The margin increase was primarily attributable to decreased inventory reserves and liquidation charges, lower inbound freight costs, and lower transaction costs; partially offset by changes in product pricing and mix.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 6 percent to $79.5 million compared to $75.1 million in the prior year. The increase was due to the increase in gross profit, partially offset by an increase in operating expenses. Operating income increased 9 percent to $70 million compared to $64.2 million in the prior year.

HSN Inc. includes both HSN, the home shopping network, and Cornerstone. HSNi’s net sales grew 4 percent in the fourth quarter over the prior year, to $955 million.

“HSNi’s positive performance for the quarter and the year was a result of maintaining our focus on expanding our digital presence, deepening customer engagement and emphasizing customer acquisition and retention,” HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman said in a canned statement. “HSN ended 2011 with its largest customer file growth in four years and Cornerstone’s 12-month house file was at record levels for Frontgate, Ballard Designs and Garnet Hill. HSNi’s digital growth of 13 percent for the quarter resulted in our highest digital penetration to date of 45 percent.”

New Vendors Nicole Richie and Kimora Lee Simmons To Debut QVC Lines In L.A. Friday

February 23, 2012

QVC is heading to one of our old haunts, Beverly Hills, for its The Buzz on the Red Carpet – Live from L.A. broadcast.

This shindig is scheduled to air Friday at 9 p.m., live from the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where we once actually stayed.

The event “will feature Hollywood’s hottest designers, stylists and celebrities,” according to Wednesday’s press release.
Yada, yada.

But there is some news: Nicole Richie who will debut her bohemian-inspired fashion line, The Nicole Richie Collection, for QVC on the Left Coast. And QVC newcomer Kimora Lee Simmons is scheduled to premiere her anti-aging cream.

QVC promises that “a veritable ‘who’s who’ of Tinseltown” will be showing up on its red carpet.

There will be Oscar-nominated star interviews and “exciting, never-before-seen red carpet-inspired pieces.” Yowser.

Fans will hear from their favorite stylists and stars as they share their personal red carpet inspirations, predictions, and inside secrets on how to achieve that special “award-winning” look.

“We are honored to, once again, team up with the most celebrated names in Hollywood to bring the glitz and glamour of awards season to our shoppers,” QVC CEO Claire Watts said in a canned statement. “What makes this broadcast truly exciting is that QVC will not only be unveiling the latest designs from the red carpet but will also be offering expert style and fashion advice from the stars and designers that help define these trends.”

On hand to celebrate QVC’s return to L.A. will be red carpet regulars Joan Rivers, Heidi Klum, the Kardashians, Kris Jenner and Wendy Williams.

Stylists-to-the-stars Cristina Ehrlich and Mark Zunino offer tips and tricks for transforming the season’s top trends into everyday wear. L.A. Designer Rachel Pally and actress, television personality and red carpet fashion expert Lisa Rinna, of the huge Botox lips, will be on hand to share their love of fashion and present their debut lines.

Jewelry designers Judith Ripka and Erica Courtney will also join the all-star lineup to put the finishing touches on the ravishing red carpet looks.

To add a distinct touch of Hollywood glam to the evening, QVC has enlisted some of its premier beauty and style experts, including Kate Somerville, Nick Chavez, Ken Paves, Chaz Dean and the bareMinerals team.

Celebrity favorites Sarah Potempo and smashbox will also lend their expertise by creating all of the models’ looks for The Buzz on the Red Carpet – Live from L.A. show.

And get this: This year QVC is also giving its fans exclusive “VIP” access to a special online preview currently available at

Facebook fans are also encouraged to stop by the “Red Carpet Shop” on QVC’s Facebook page to watch insider videos and shop for products, including an exclusive item from the Kardashian sisters’ K-Dash Collection.

Our Prayers Going Out To QVC Host Jacque Gonzales And Her Ailing Father-In-Law, Brother-In-Law

February 21, 2012

Prayers go out to QVC host Jacque Gonzales, whose been chronicling the stroke her father-in-law had and the kidney failure her brother-in-law was going through on Facebook. And she was appearing on the air doing all this hardship, as well.

It was heart-breaking to read the saga as it unfolded, first the brother-in-law ill and then the stroke for the dad. It’s a perfect example of when it rains it pours.

Here is one of the earlier posts:

“Hi – I first want to thank you all for the prayers for my brother in law Bill – he’s still in the hospital, but stable as they try to find out why his kidneys have failed,” Gonzales wrote. “Then this morning, my sweet father in law Jim had a stroke and was airlifted to a hospital in Philly. He’s in ICU and Dr’s are waiting to see if they will have to drain fluid from his brain. His 88th birthday is on the 28th.”

One of the next posts was this:

“My husband is taking his mother to the hospital now – the doctor said they could come in at this time to see my father in law. I’ll update when I hear news. Thank you for all the prayers. Blessings ~ Jac”

Then came this:

“Update – earlier this afternoon my father in law was more responsive, remembered his name, recognized his wife. We got a call at 1:15am that his condition has made a turn for the worse. We’re waiting to hear from the doctor on what needs to happen next. We’re praying that he’s in no pain – and hoping for a miracle. Thank you so much for your prayers. Blessings to all of you.”

Then this:

“Thank you all for your messages and prayers. My father in law is still in ICU and unconscious. The doctors said that there’s nothing more that really can be done. A priest came in to give him his last rights. Family is visiting him – and he’s stable. God Bless you all for our thoughts and prayers. As well as my brother in law Bill – he’s doing ok, still in the hospital and under great care.”

And most recently this:

“Home with my family. Father in law is in nursing home as of this afternoon. My daughter is trying to make me laugh with her new favorite word – “Awkward”. I know someone else mentioned their child saying the same thing. BTW – I think I was channeling Pippi Longstocking with my hair today – time for a trim. Be back later.”

Apparently some of Gonzales’s Facebook “Friends,” and we use that term lightly, were upset that she posted such downbeat news on her wall. What are they, crazy? Was she supposed to have just sounded jovial like nothing was going on?

We wish for a swift recovery for all.

Is Lady Gaga Doing A Line For HSN? Read Elle’s Story On Mindy Grossman

February 18, 2012

If you want a good read about HSN and CEO Mindy Grossman, we advise you to check on Elle magazine’s profile of home shopping’s most celebrated head honcho.

Here is the link:

The article, headlined “Mindy Grossman’s Sell-A-Vision Success,” includes interviews with not only Grossman but HSN vendor Iman, super host Colleen Lopez and home designer Jonathan Adler. Once again, the story is about how Grossman has “morphed HSN from a cheesy and weird guilty pleasure into a flourishing business energized by the talents of the fashionable,” according to Elle.

In the story, Grossman says that the entertaining lifestyle programming she had seen on HGTV was the model for her transformed HSN.

The story describes Lopez as “the unrivaled queen of the HSN hostesses: Its top seller.”

“We’ve gone from nerdy kid in class to, like, the homecoming queen! We have street cred,” Lopez told Elle.

HSN hosts are expected to read WWD to keep up with fashion trends, we’re told.

There also some intriguing tidbits about Grossman meeting with the execs from Facebook and Google in Cali.

But the kicker is the end of the story. I won’t give it all away. Let’s just say thet Grossman has met with Lady Gaga about doing an HSN line.

Read the story.

Singer Lionel Richie, With Kenny Rogers, Is Coming To HSN With ‘Tuskegee’ In March

February 16, 2012

Legendary singer/songwriter Lionel Richie will be the first artist to participate in the HSN LIVE concert series on all three of its “platforms,” as they say in the biz: HSN, and HSN Mobile.

The concert,”HSN LIVE Presents Lionel Richie sponsored by Cricket,” is March 16 at 8 p.m.

Lionel will perform tracks from his Mercury Nashville release “Tuskegee,” a collection of 13 reinterpretations of his most popular hits with some of the biggest names in country music. Kenny Rogers will join him on stage to perform “Lady,” a song shared by both artists over the years.

Lionel Richie will be in concert on HSN

“HSN has become a launching pad for new releases from today’s biggest artists,” Andy Sheldon, HSN’s executive vice president of television and executive creative director. “Through special events like the HSN LIVE concert series, we offer our customers insider access to some of the world’s greatest music legends and we are excited to have Lionel share his inspiration for ‘Tuskegee’ and his iconic sound.”

HSN customers now have the opportunity to pre-order an exclusive 2-disc bundle ($14.95) on that includes Lionel’s new ‘Tuskegee’ release and a special 5-track bonus CD which includes an HSN exclusive never before released version of “You Are,” recorded live at Wembley Arena.

“Doing ‘Tuskegee’ was coming back to the beginning, back to basics, back to home,” Richie stated. “It was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio and I can’t wait to share with fans what I consider some of my best work, when I appear on HSN.”

‘Tuskegee’ represents an exciting new chapter in Lionel’s career with an unprecedented lineup of country icons including: Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington and Little Big Town.

The multi-genre album also features Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett.

Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee Track-Listing is:

“You Are” with Blake Shelton
“Say You, Say Me” with Jason Aldean
“Stuck On You” with Darius Rucker
“Deep River Woman” with Little Big Town
“My Love” with Kenny Chesney
“Dancing On The Ceiling” with Rascal Flatts
“Hello” with Jennifer Nettles
“Sail On” with Tim McGraw
“Endless Love” with Shania Twain
“Just For You” with Billy Currington
“Lady” with Kenny Rogers
“Easy” with Willie Nelson
“All Night Long” with Jimmy Buffett

Bonus CD Track-Listing:

“You Are” – never before released live version recorded at Wembley Arena
“Say You, Say Me” — original recording
“My Love” — original recording
“Dancing On The Ceiling” — original recording
“Stuck On You” — original recording

Prior to the HSN LIVE concert series event, a special pre-show will stream live on HSN’s Facebook page at 7 p.m., offering fans exclusive behind-the-scenes access as Lionel prepares to take the stage.

Facebook viewers will be able to watch exclusive content at to learn more about the inspiration behind Tuskegee, as well as a live interview with Rogers just before the show.

Following his HSN premiere, Richie will perform a special encore and further interact with HSN’s Facebook fans during a live post-concert chat.

Here the PR spin:

“Tuskegee” is also a musical homecoming that feels like a heartwarming reunion with a beloved friend. Lionel proves that you can go home again as he returns to his Southern roots to pay tribute to his hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama, where he was indelibly shaped as a man and a musician. He was exposed to country, gospel, R&B and classical music while growing up, and it was in Tuskegee where he helped form the Commodores and wrote his first hits, including “Sail On” and “Easy.”

HSN LIVE sponsor Cricket offers Muve Music, the first wireless rate plan to include unlimited music. The Muve Music plan includes unlimited song downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones, as well as nationwide calling, unlimited messaging and 3G mobile data.

HSN To Participate In J.P. Morgan High Yield Conference

February 15, 2012

HSN’s Chief Financial Officer Judy Schmeling will participate in the J.P. Morgan High Yield Conference in Miami on Feb. 28, the network announced Tuesday.

She is speaking at 3:20 p.m. At that time, Schmeling will speak to a group of high yield investors.