Archive for October, 2013

Is Singer Celine Dion Coming To QVC Friday?

October 31, 2013

QVC host Jacque Gonzales has been posting on Facebook about her trip this week to New York City, and she spilled the beans on her visit Wednesday.

“BIG NEWS!!!! What was I doing in NYC for the last couple days???” she wrote.

“Spending it with CELINE DION!!!! YES!!! Mark it on your calendar – THIS FRIDAY 7pE/4pP on QVC to hear tracks from one of the MOST INCREDIBLE albums I’ve ever heard – ‘Loved Me Back To Life’ from Celine Dion – her first English Language album in 6 years! PLUS – Only for QVC Customers – exclusive bonus tracks! Please spread the word! I’m BEYOND excited! What would you ask Celine if you could ask her one question???”

Celine Dion and Jacque Gonzales

Celine Dion and Jacque Gonzales

Call us dummies, but we were unsure if Ms. Dion will be performing live Friday or not. Did Gonzales just tape an interview with Dion for the show Friday, or will the diva be in West Chester?

Here is what QVC.com says:

With 220 million records sold worldwide, Celine Dion is one of the most recognizable and successful performers in pop music history. If you love her soaring vocals, then you won’t want to miss an unforgettable hour of music as QVC presents Celine Dion: Loved Me Back to Life.

Tune in as we offer her latest release, Loved Me Back to Life, her 25th studio album and first English-language record in six years. Take advantage of the opportunity to order this highly anticipated collection of 13 new tracks?along with a 5-song bonus CD exclusively for QVC®? before it hits stores on November 5.

Listen to the incredible range of this 5-time Grammy Award winner as she explores a fresh musical approach with an impressive list of musicians and songwriters, among them the legendary Stevie Wonder and R&B artist Ne-Yo. Experience the power of music from an extraordinary voice during Celine Dion: Loved Me Back to Life on QVC. Release date subject to change without notice.

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Shareholders Call For ShopHQ To Can CEO, But It Says No, No, No

October 31, 2013

ShopHQ CEO Keith Stewart had a bad day Wednesday.

That’s what happens when a dissident shareholder group files a letter with the Securities & Exchange Commission calling for your board to replace you because of your skunky performance. In fact, those stockholders want you gone so badly that they offer to invest $25 million in the company once you are gone.

The shareholders, Clinton Group Inc., own 5 percent of ShopHQ, whose corporate name is ValueVision Media Inc. Clinton Group sent a letter to ShopHQ Chairman Randy Ronald blasting Stewart’s performance of head of the home shopping network.

Here is the full text of the letter, which is a real scorcher in regard to Stewart.

http://hsprod.investis.com/site/irwizard/vvtv/ir.jsp?page=sec_item_new&ipage=9196587&DSEQ=2&SEQ=&SQDESC=SECTION_EXHIBIT&exp=&subsid=41

The letter initially complimented for its wide cable and satellite distribution. That was the good news. Then came the bad news from the shareholders.

Despite cable and satellite distribution that is nearly as good as that of HSN, the Company’s enterprise value is about one-tenth that of HSN.

We do not believe the asset is the problem.

Instead, as we have said, we believe that the Company has exploited that asset poorly and has dramatically under-performed its direct rivals, to say nothing of the Company’s potential. When Keith Stewart, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, joined the Company, he declared that he was “going to change” the Company’s “business model” and its “poor execution.” Neither has happened.

Instead, Mr. Stewart missed nearly every long-term projection and metric he offered during his tenure. As we noted, for example, his publicly stated goal was to create a company with more than $1 billion in revenue with 8-12% EBITDA margins by now. He missed both targets by a country mile.

In the meantime, as we have discussed with you, we believe the Company has fallen further behind its competitors in terms of market share (of both revenue and gross profit dollars) and has failed to return to pre-recession levels of revenue, unlike most retailers, eCommerce companies and both of its home shopping network rivals.

This performance gap has been caused, in our view, by a failure to innovate and differentiate the Company from its peers and repeated failures to hit customer count, penetration rate, distribution cost, operating expense and profit targets over the past four years.

Mr. Stewart and his management team, many of whom we understand work from home, 1000 miles or more from the Company’s headquarters at least two days per week, have in our view abjectly failed to build significant proprietary brands, expand product assortments sufficiently, diversify the program schedule, optimize the product mix and retain key successful vendors.

Recently, the Company – which refers to itself as a “multi-channel retailer” – was ranked dead last among such companies for its mobile website.

Ouch! And we thought our bosses were tough.

But the beat went on. Here are more excerpts from the letter:

Since January 2010 when Mr. Stewart declared that “executed correctly, the [home-shopping business] is the most profitable form of retailing,” the Company has lost $100 million and has reported just a single profitable quarter.

HSN, during that same period, has earned $400 million. And although Mr. Stewart proclaimed that he “fully expect[ed] to double our business over [a] three-to-five year period,” in March 2010, the three-year growth has turned out to be just 11%.

Mr. Stewart has a record of overpromising and under-delivering. On nine separate occasions since 2009, as we indicated during our presentation to you, Mr. Stewart has stood before shareholders and proclaimed the “turnaround” of the Company was well underway or complete.* Sadly, for shareholders, the stock has underperformed the Russell 2000 and HSN since every one of those nine declarations.

That is not to say that Mr. Stewart has not done some good and important work for the Company. The Company was in bad shape when Mr. Stewart arrived and he rightly gets credit for keeping ValueVision afloat. But he has not hit his own targets, optimized the operations or maximized the returns to shareholders. And now, he has no discernable strategy to lift the Company from its distant, third-place (and shrinking) market position.

Accordingly, as we have said to you, we believe the Board should replace Mr. Stewart to enhance operational performance and to pursue a new strategic path. We advocate this not because we are ungrateful to Mr. Stewart for his past stewardship of the Company, but rather because gratefulness has no place in picking the future leader of ValueVision.

The Board’s obligation, it seems to us, is to ensure the Company has the right leader for the future: a leader with entrepreneurial energy; strategic vision; a track record of operational excellence and exceptional performance; and credibility with investors, vendors and employees. We do not believe that person is Mr. Stewart.

The Clinton Group apparently has someone in mind to replace Stewart. Damn, who is it?

From the letter again:

We also are in a position to recommend to the Board several experienced executives with deep, relevant domain expertise and impeccable reputations to serve as Board members to augment the existing Board.

These individuals bring expertise in areas as critical as merchandising, marketing, television production and entertainment, eCommerce and finance. Several of them are iconic leaders in the convergence of media, eCommerce and entertainment and several are well known to the Company’s other shareholders.

That said, with the existing Board’s approval and subject to the completion of due diligence, we would be prepared to put our capital where our mouth is. We would be pleased to make a fresh, primary, minority investment in the Company of at least $25 million at a substantial premium to the stock price if the Board would accept our recommendation and replace Mr. Stewart and upgrade the Board significantly.

ShopHQ shot back later in the day, and here is most of its response:

We are disappointed that Clinton has decided to publish its letter, especially in light of our continuing dialogue. ValueVision has a long record of engaging with shareholders, and members of the Company’s Boar of Directors and management team have engaged in numerous discussions with Clinton since early September, when Clinton first contacted ValueVision.

During the course of these discussions, the Board made clear that it fully supports ValueVision’s management team and its successfulexecution of the Company’s strategy of building sustained growth through customer engagement. Importantly, the Board and management team are confident about the future trajectory of the business.

Since the appointment of Keith Stewart as CEO in January 2009, substantial shareholder value has been created, as demonstrated by an over 940% increase in ValueVision’s share price, from $0.52 to $5.42 as
of yesterday’s market close, as a result of the successful implementation of the Company’s turnaround strategy.

During the same time period, the Russell 2000 Index increased by approximately 150%. ValueVision’s management team, working closely with the Board of Directors, has streamlined operations, improved the quality of the Company’s TV distribution footprint and significantly enhanced the stability and flexibility of its balance sheet, resulting in stronger financial performance.

In addition, ValueVision’s diversification of merchandise and investment in customer centric programs has resulted in an 11% increase in rolling 12 month customer counts and a 10% increase in year to date sales, as of the second quarter of 2013.

Clinton has failed to recognize or acknowledge that the major elements of ValueVision’s turnaround have been addressed and that the Company has delivered improved performance in a number of important financial and operating metrics. Moreover, Clinton has failed to provide any concrete suggestions or recommendations to improve ValueVision’s business and strategy going forward.

ValueVision’s Board and management team remain committed to enhancing value for all shareholders and welcome input from shareholders toward that goal. We will take the time necessary to thoroughly evaluate the Clinton letter while continuing to focus on the successful execution of ValueVision’s business plan to enhance our operating and financial performance.

So there, Clinton Group!

Dissident Shareholders Call For Ouster Of ShopHQ CEO

October 31, 2013

Pardon our language, but the shit really hit the fan at ShopHQ today.

A dissident shareholder group called for ShopHQ CEO Keith Stewart to step down, and offered to invest $25 million in the No. 3 home shopping network if it dumps the honcho.

We’ll do a full blog on this shortly, just wanted to give you a heads-up.

HSN Hypes Its ‘More The Merrier’ Christmas Campaign

October 30, 2013

It’s late, we’re tired.

So here is Tuesday’s holiday hype from HSN, direct from the horse’s mouth.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — This holiday season, innovative interactive retailer HSN, Inc. (HSNi) is leveraging the cumulative power of its unparalleled portfolio of leading lifestyle brands to launch More the Merrier, a dynamic, multi-platform holiday campaign. The all-encompassing holiday initiative features the best-of-the-best giftable items at some of the nation’s most sought after retail brands.

HSNi’s lifestyle brands offer consumers the opportunity to win big this holiday season with a curated assortment of highly giftable items through easy-to-shop digital gift guides; special promotional offers and engaging contests and sweepstakes. Key holiday initiatives include:

HSN

HSN will host its biggest holiday sweepstakes ever with the More the Merrier Sweepstakes Presented by Toyota. The nine-week, multi-platform sweepstakes will offer consumers the chance to win an array of prizes through the HSN Arcade gaming portal on HSN.com or by using their tablet or smartphone via HSN Mobile.

Top prizes include a brand new 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid; once-in-a-lifetime experiential events such as an Ozark Mountains fishing trip with top angler Kevin VanDam or pit row access to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Speedway; and special holiday gift bundles from HSN.com.

Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill’s More the Merrier Sweepstakes will offer one lucky winner a luxury getaway to New York City, including airfare for two, a stay at a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property (winner’s choice of The Refinery or The Quin), and the opportunity to meet with fashion editors at Lucky magazine for style tips and a tour of the Lucky fashion closet.

While in New York, the winner and their guest will enjoy a performance of both Chicago and Pippin on Broadway. In addition, they will receive a $1,000 Garnet Hill Gift Card and new Garnet Hill luggage. Garnet Hill will also reprise their annual Dream Big Slipper Boot Design Contest, which gives children the opportunity to submit their artwork for a pair of boiled wool slipper boots. Three winners will receive a pair of boots designed from their illustration and a $250 gift card.

Frontgate

Frontgate’s highly popular annual “Inspire Holiday Pinterest Challenge” will return again on November 15 with pinners describing their most beautiful Christmas celebration ever through pictures posted on the popular social site. Frontgate customers will get to cast their vote for top Pinterest boards with the top 10 pinners receiving Frontgate gift cards to make their holidays even brighter.

Ballard Designs

In conjunction with Southern Living magazine, Ballard Designs is hosting The Ultimate Holiday Hostess Sweepstakes now through December 31. Holiday shoppers can enter for a chance to win $10,000 in merchandise and decorate the party of their dreams. In addition, each entrant can take part in the “What’s Your Hostess Style” quiz, shop the best gifts for every hostess on their list, and download exclusive holiday entertaining recipes and ideas.

Pinterest

Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Chasing Fireflies, Garnet Hill, Improvements, HSN and TravelSmith are collaborating to create the ultimate More the Merrier holiday Pinterest board with products pinned from each of the brands.

Holiday shoppers can follow HSNi’s official board to learn about the season’s top giftable items and get the scoop from experts on how these items can complete their shopping lists.

Giving Back

At HSNi, generosity lies at the heart of everything we do. There’s no better time to give to those in need than during the holiday season.

HSNi Cares is proud to continue supporting the lifesaving work of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the return of the popular heART HSN 2013 Designer Ornament Collection. This beautifully crafted collection of holiday ornaments features highly-creative designs from some of HSN’s most popular personalities including: Giuliana Rancic, Martha Stewart, Iris Apfel, Deborah Lippmann and many others.

For ornaments purchased through January 31, 2014, 100% of the profits – no less than 30% of the purchase price of each ornament – will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Additionally, all of the HSNi brands will be supporting St. Jude by accepting customer donations and raising awareness for this worthwhile organization starting on November 1st. Donations collected via the HSN Credit Card from November 15-30 will be matched by HSN up to $150,000.

Mary J. Blige Coming To HSN With Holiday Album Nov. 17

October 29, 2013

Singer Mary J. Blige will be returning to HSN for a live Christmas concert, according to Billboard magazine.

Blige will be hawking her new album, her first holiday collection, “A Mary Christmas.”

MARY

The celebrated artist will be on HSN Nov. 17, Billboard reported.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/5770425/mary-j-blige-partners-again-with-hsn-to-celebrate-first-holiday?utm_source=twitter&sf18842059=1

Blige started out her gig with HSN by first selling her fragrance on the network several years ago.

Bare Escentuals’ Leslie Blodgett Returns To QVC Nov. 22

October 29, 2013

For those QVC fans of mineral makeup maven Leslie Blodgett, good news.

Blodgett, longtime chief of the Bare Escentuals cosmetics line, on Monday posted on Facebook that she will be making a visit to the home shopping network in November. She will be appearing with QVC host Lisa Robertson.

Here is the post:

Secret: Lisa my BFF invited me to be on her show nov 22 qvc. Special stuff. I will share more as I learn more. But so excited.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leslie-Blodgett/129478360410877?hc_location=stream

This weekend we did a blog saying that several months ago, unbeknownst, doe-eyed Blodgett has posted a letter on Facebook saying she wasn’t going to be doing shows for Bare Escentuals anymore.

https://homeshoppingista.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-diamond-dean-michael-oconnor-now-makeup-queen-leslie-blodgett-gone-from-qvc/

We guess Robertson made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Lingerie Designer Josie Natori Coming To HSN This Week

October 28, 2013

What’s with all the home shopping news these days?

We were watching rock god Jay King on HSN Sunday night when we saw a promo for famed upscale lingerie designer Josie Natori, who premieres a line called N Natori on the network Tuesday.

http://www.hsn.com/shop/n-natori/11673?rid=3426&query=N%20Natori&isSuggested=True&

The pieces include pretty print dresses, tops, pants, robes, PJs and caftans. It looks good, but pricey. A dress we like is $120.

Meet HSN Rock God Jay King’s Wife, We Think

October 28, 2013

HSN rock god Jay King — jewelry vendor, globe trotter and bush pilot — is celebrating his 18th anniversary on the home shopping network. He has the Today’s Special for Monday, but enough about that.

We’ve always wondered what Jay’s wife looks like, and HSN host Shivan Sarna answered that question. On Sunday she posted a photo of her and a beaming Jay standing next to a pretty blonde woman, who we believe is the Missus. They all have huge smiles.

Jay King, Shivan Sarna and Mrs. King

Jay King, Shivan Sarna and Mrs. King

Jay has been pretty quiet about his private life, but for some reason was chatty about it late Sunday night. He mentioned that his son was 12 when he first started appearing on HSN, and he added that he had a daughter.

We’ve been watching Jay for many years, and never heard him mention having any kids.

Jay also said that his wife is British and is a very formidable woman. Anyway, Jay is on heavy rotation on HSN Monday.

First Diamond Dean Michael O’Connor, Now Makeup Queen Leslie Blodgett Gone From QVC?

October 27, 2013

Thanks to posters on our blog and on the QVC.com boards for giving us the 411 on what is happening with QVC diamond maven Michael O’Connor, who has exited the home shopping network. And they dug up news about doe-eyed Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals founder Leslie Blodgett.

http://community.qvc.com/forums/viewpoints/topic/412221/michael-oconner-affinity-diamond-rep-leaving-qvc.aspx

First, O’Connor told a Facebook friend why he left QVC.

Leslie Blodgett says goodbye QVC

Leslie Blodgett says goodbye QVC

“Unfortunately, there would have been a contractual conflict with other projects that I’m working on for future and therefore I had no choice,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor, a celeb stylist, also posted a video on Facebook with a clip for an outfit called Engagement 101 TV. It is launching next year — and O’Connor has a show on it.

QVC’s Affinity Diamond line will go on without him.

And a sharp-eyed poster on the QVC forums said that Blodgett will no longer be hosting the Bare Escentuals mineral makeup shows on the home shopping network.

“Leslie said it on her FB page,” the QVC poster said. “She took a sabbatical, and she’ll be back with BE, but her QVC days are over.”

We went on Blodgett’s Facebook page and couldn’t find this announcement, but apparently she’s been MIA from QVC so it sounds real.

UPDATE:

A smart friend found Blodgett’s post.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/leslie-blodgett/letter-to-leslie-blodgetts-fb-page/584814471543928

Blodgett sold her company to Japanese giant Shisedo for $1.7 billion a couple of years ago,

Diamond Expert Michael O’Connor Leaving QVC

October 26, 2013

Here’s a real shocker for a Saturday morning: Celeb stylist and diamond expert Michael O’Connor is exiting QVC.

We got up today and went on Facebook and saw O’Connor’s posting about him no longer the home shopping network’s face for its Affinity Diamond collection.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-OConnor-Qvc/240234302695453?hc_location=stream

O’Connor — one of the classiest, most charming and knowledgeable guests to grace QVC — was thanking fans who — like us — were sorry he was leaving the network. It looks like Friday was his last appearance on the channel.

Here is his post:

YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!! Thank you all for the most lovely messages and comments that anybody could ever ask for. The decision to leave QVC was a VERY difficult one and I wish it could have been different.

Not only will I truly miss the great talents that I have the opportunity to work with but I will miss your calls into the show, your comments here on Facebook, the times you have stopped me in airports and stores and shared your own stories with me and all the times you’ve simply “liked” my posts here on Facebook.

You’ve made me feel very special and very lucky to have known you. I hope you’ll continue to keep up with me on Michael O”Connor Style – plenty of things on the horizon to share with you…. but for now, God bless and may the angels watch you always. XO Michael

We don’t know the scoop, but here are some likely scenarios. O’Connor may be so busy picking out jewelry for stars on the red carpet that he doesn’t have time for QVC. Or the home shopping network couldn’t come to terms on a new deal with O’Connor. Or QVC decided it didn’t need O’Connor anymore to hawk Affinity.

You decide.