Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Homeshoppingista, Montclair Local And The Times

March 28, 2017

Pardon us as we toot our own horn.

If you have any curiosity about what our day job is, The New York Times will answer that question.

It did a story about the new start-up newspaper were are working for, Montclair Local, in New Jersey.

We are undertaking a difficult venture, so wish us luck. But we are working with a talented group of journalists and being led by  a  smart publisher.

The Times quoted us and had a photo, where were pretty much successfully hide behind our computer monitor. That’s us in the flowered sweater from Target.

 

 

 

 

Evine’s 4Q Sales Drop 10%, To $191 Million

March 23, 2017

Evine joined its two much larger rivals in posting declines in sales in the fourth quarter, seeing its revenue dive 10 percent, to $191 million, the No. 3 home shopping network said Wednesday.

Evine said its drop in net sales was “driven by a $21 million reduction in low contribution margin consumer electronics, which includes management’s proactive $15 million reduction of low margin hoverboard sales.”

“Excluding the effect of hoverboard sales, fourth-quarter net sales declined about 3 percent,” the home shopping network said in its press release.

The company posted net income of $2 million, a 207 percent improvement year-over-year, and adjusted EBITDA of $6.4 million, a 31 percent rise year-over-year.

For all of 2016, Evine registered revenue of $662.2 million, down nearly 4 percent.

http://s21.q4cdn.com/129019908/files/doc_presentations/2016/Evine-Earnings-Investor-Presentation-F16-Q4.pdf

QVC and HSN didn’t have great quarters, either.

QVC’s fourth-quarter revenue dropped 7 percent, to $1.9 billion, and was down 2 percent in 2016 versus the prior year, to $6.1 billion. HSN saw its sales dip 1 percent in the fourth quarter, to $769.3 million, and slip 3 percent last year, to $2.7 billion.

Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt had plenty to say.

“This is the fourth quarter in a row that we have expanded our gross margin rate, improved our cash position and grew our Adjusted EBITDA on a year-over-year basis,” he said in a canned statement.

“I’m very proud of our team and these results, particularly in light of the challenging macro retail environment. As previously noted, we continue to be on a different journey from our closest competitors. Our strategy to rebalance our merchandising mix and implement expense discipline has positioned us well for an exciting 2017.”

And that wasn’t all.

“Looking to 2017, we believe this will be another strong year of building shareholder value,” he said. “Our merchandising plan will remain focused on delivering a balanced assortment of profitable proprietary, exclusive and name brand products.  We will continue to work hard to engage our customers more intelligently by leveraging the use of predictive analytics and interactive marketing to drive personalization and relevancy to each experience.”

And even that wasn’t all.

“And equally important, we will continue to find new methods, territories and technologies to distribute our video commerce programming beyond the television screen,” he said.

“This will include growing our revenues in social, mobile, online, and over-the-top platforms like Amazon Firestick, Apple TV and Roku, and also exploring thoughtful bricks and mortar retailing partnerships that leverage our video commerce expertise to build a bridge between traditional retail and e-commerce.”

In the fourth quarter wearable categories, which include jewelry and watches, fashion and accessories, and beauty posted “solid revenue performance, and together grew by 2 percent,” according Evine.

“However, this growth was more than offset by a 55 percent decline in the consumer electronics category, of which more than two-thirds of the decline was related to not repeating the low-margin hoverboard sales from last year,” the network said in its press release.

In a call with Wall Street analysts, Rosenblatt gave a shout out to us jewelry hounds.

“We had several well executed jewelry events during the quarter, this included our Diamond Day event in November, which resulted in 18 percent improvement in productivity over the last year,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“In addition, we are able to be the first company to market the Burmese tuby which only recently became available to the U.S. market after 10 years. The customer responded when we experienced the 30 percent higher productivity versus our base jeweler business. In addition, we had a successful January Gem week as we continue to have success selling a wide variety of gem stones to our very loyal jewelry customers.”

http://seekingalpha.com/article/4057152-evines-evlv-ceo-bob-rosenblatt-q4-2016-results-earnings-call-transcript?source=email_rt_article_readmore&auth_param=1cprs8:1cd5fo1:d6d068b63def7b8390aafca68547c67e&uprof=53&dr=1http://seekingalpha.com/article/4057152-evines-evlv-ceo-bob-rosenblatt-q4-2016-results-earnings-call-transcript?source=email_rt_article_readmore&auth_param=1cprs8:1cd5fo1:d6d068b63def7b8390aafca68547c67e&uprof=53&dr=1

Evine is also steaming  ahead with its conversion to HDTV.

“And as we have discussed our conversion to high definition TV is expected to be completed in launch by September,” Rosenblatt told analysts.

“We started the process of converting to high definition TV in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. We remained on track with this initiative. Phase I which included camera replacements and a transition to 16:9 aspect ratio which completed in the fourth quarter and Phase II which includes HD switcher replacements is set to be completed this spring. The final Phase will be completed by fall at which time we will be fully broadcasting in high definition. This transition to HD will improve our customer’s viewing experience which we believe will result in incremental sales.”

 

 

Our Bad: Pollen Puffed Connie Craig-Carroll’s Eyes

March 22, 2017

We were told we were wrong about HSN host Connie Craig-Carroll. It is allergies that are changing her facial appearance, not a nick and tuck here and there by a plastic surgeon.. :

Or so one of her associates told us in no uncertain terms,

“What you’ve written about Connie is totally absurd and not true!” the woman posted on our blog.

“Connie visited family and friends last week and has severe allergies from pollen. Her eyes have been puffy as a result. It’s really sad that you feel the need to write about things before researching or knowing the facts. I’m a credible source and know the truth. It’s unfortunate that you find pleasure in trying to degrade people. Unbelievable!!!”

What say you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Catty: HSN Host Connie Craig-Carroll’s Eyes

March 21, 2017

Sorry to have to say it, but what has happened to HSN host Connie Craig-Carroll?

We haven’t seen her on-air for awhile, but watched her early Tuesday morning and were shocked by her appearance. Craig-Carroll looks like she has had work done around her eyes. A lot of work, and none too subtle.

Her eyelids are so tight and lifted that they almost look slanted, giving her a feline appearance. If fact, Craig-Carroll now reminds us of socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, who has had so many facelifts and plastic surgery that the New York tabloids refer to her as the cat woman.

We guess this is all a sad commentary on women on TV having to pull all the stops to stay vital on-screen and keep their jobs.

JTV Boasts 2016 Secret Sales Rose ‘Double Digits’

March 17, 2017

Pardon us being late on this, but we were starting a new gig the day Jewelry Television put out this press release.

JTV tooted it own horn to say that it posted “double-digit increases in sales and orders, which continued to outperform the wider retail sector” in 2016.

For the calendar year, the home shopping network reported that last year its sales rose nearly 14 percent. By contrast, the wider retail sector saw single-digit sales growth in 2016.

The National Retail Federation expected annual growth of 3.4 percent in its latest forecast for retail sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

What the network didn’t tell us was its precise sales figure for last year. We would bet you they were just a fraction of the revenue of the home shopping giants, QVC and HSN, even if they were up “double digits.”

QVC generated $6.1 billion in revenue in 2016, while HSN had $2.5 billion.

JTV’s “ongoing strategic investment in market-leading engagement helped drive even stronger growth in mobile commerce,” according to the press release. Both mobile visits and mobile sales increased by more than 30 percent year-over-year.

“Our unique omni-digital strategy across broadcast, mobile and online platforms is engaging new and returning customers in a way that drives powerful growth for our top and bottom line,” JTV CEO Tim Matthews said in a canned statement.

“We are committed to elevating the customer experience and continue to develop a dynamic and powerful retail platform.”

In the holiday quarter last year, JTV saw an increase of 7 percent in sales when compared to the same period of 2015.

JTV gave itself another pat on the back to end its press release

“Although best known for its innovative broadcast media platform, JTV also has demonstrated industry leading customer engagement on its web property, jtv.com,” it said.

“In 2016, JTV was identified by analytics company SimilarWeb, as the No. 1 site for customer engagement as defined by average visit duration. Additionally, it was recently selected by Internet Retailer as one of the Top 100 innovative e-retailers due to its mobile execution.”

Smashbox Creator Comes To Evine

March 8, 2017

Correct us if we’re wrong, but it sounds to us like the founder of Smashbox Cosmetics and one of its key makeup artists have split from that company and are bringing a new line to Evine.

That’s because on Tuesday the No. 3 home shopping network announced that this Friday Dean Factor, Smashbox founder and creator, and the company’s veteran makeup whiz Holly Mordini will be premiering a new line, STROKE of BEAUTY.

“Offering a unique point of difference from other color lines, STROKE of BEAUTY reflects an artist’s perspective by marrying the techniques applied to painting with the makeup artistry skills Mordini developed throughout her 20-plus year career,” the press release said.

Mordini appeared as Smashbox’s rep when the line was selling first on QVC, and then on HSN.

“Evine is committed to delivering great products, building brands and telling those brands’ stories. STROKE of BEAUTY is exciting because it has such a great story to tell,” Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt said in a canned statement. “In addition to the unique product offering, we have an exceptional guest – Holly Mordini – who will inspire customers with her artistic approach to makeup.”

Mordini who apparently is not only a makeup artist but a painter has worked in the beauty industry for more than two decades. She was “discovered” in 1997 by Dean Factor, the co-founder of Smashbox Cosmetics and great-grandson of Max Factor (a.k.a. “The Father of Makeup”).

In 2015, Mordini and Factor combined their industry knowledge and talent to develop STROKE of BEAUTY.

“This brand is as much about the product as it is about the application. That’s what makes STROKE of BEAUTY so perfect for television,” Factor said. “What sets Evine apart from other video commerce platforms is their ability to dedicate the airtime and resources to not only nurture and grow brands, but also tell brands’ stories in new and engaging ways.”

Mordini, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine and studio arts, also put her two cents in.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to share my artist’s point of view on product formulations, application and technique when I come to Evine,” she said. “I know that I can help women approach beauty differently and show them just how easy it can be for STROKE of BEAUTY to make a difference in how their makeup can look. It’s going to be so much fun to show viewers all the exciting ways to update their beauty routines!”

HSN Picks Jersey Girl As An American Dreams Finalist

March 7, 2017

Now that’s what we’re talking about: HSN has chosen a woman from Saddle Brook, N.J. — our old stomping ground in Bergen County — as one of five finalists in its Project American Dreams initiative. And Hispanic no less!

The finalists will launch their products during a special edition of “The Monday Night Show with Adam Freeman” next week.

HSN worked with entrepreneur and Dreamers Ventures creator Liliana “Lili” Gil Valletta and Bob Circosta, “TV’s Billion Dollar Man,” to search for new and exciting products from Latino/a entrepreneurs to launch on HSN.

The finalists were selected from nearly 100 applicants for the opportunity to launch their products on HSN and reach a national audience, according to a press release Monday.

They include Jersey Girl Hipatia López, who created the patented invention the Empanada/Pastry Fork, making it up to five times faster to shape and seal anything from empanadas to calzones, apple turnovers and more. Loves us some empanadas and calzones.

The other finalists are:

Juan Luis Pedro Sánchez (Madrid, Spain) who created the patented KeepFresh Sheets, offering a natural and chemical-free way to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, keeping fruits fresher longer.

Frances Prado (Jamul, California) who created the patented Hanging Secrets, offering women a new solution to hang, organize, protect and find their lingerie at home or on the go.

Victoria Flores (New York City), who co-created the patent-pending Lux Beauty Club’s GLAM-N-GO Hair Bun, “providing natural and inexpensive off-the-shelf hair buns and hair extensions uniquely constructed to fit and match almost any hair color.”

James and Kathryn Smith (Dallas, Texas) co-created the patented Giraffe Razor Extension Handle, “offering a solution to people limited in flexibility and mobility by adding 15 to 20 inches to a razor handle and an easy pivoting head that rotates for personalization and convenience.”

U.S. Bank, the presenting sponsor, has been there alongside the winners, providing mentoring to each finalist. It has a strong commitment to small-businesses as the third-largest lender of Small Business Administration loans in the country, providing $838 million in SBA loans last year.

U.S. Bank will sponsor the winners for a chance to attend the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program (SLEP), if qualified and take part in an immersive six-week program that provides the education, networks, mentorship and access to capital to grow their business.

If qualified, up to three winners will be selected to participate in the Access Latina women-entrepreneur accelerator program, and one winner will receive a cash prize by U.S. Bank, as part of a social media challenge that rewards the contestant with the most hashtag votes via Twitter and Instagram.

Evine Names New Merchandising, Digital Execs

March 7, 2017

Evine is bolstering its management team, bringing in a consumer-electronics veteran of QVC and HSN and promoting an in-house digital exec.

The No. 3 home shopping network on Monday said it had hired Rob Ellerstein as vice president, general merchandise manager of hard home and consumer electronics. What the heck is “hard home”?

In addition, Evine promoted Lee Goehring to the slot of vice president, web merchandising & business development.

Ellerstein joins Evine from QVC, where he was most recently director of merchandising, electronics. Prior to that, he served as HSN’s vice president of merchandising and operating vice president/director of merchandising.

In addition, Ellerstein spent seven years at Macy’s Inc., where he was a senior buyer of home products, including rugs, housewares, electronics and food products.

“In 2017 we are focused on growing our profitable, balanced merchandising mix with engaging exclusive and proprietary products,” Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt said in a canned statement.

“To help us do that well, I’m excited to welcome Rob Ellerstein as vice president, general merchandising manager of hard home and consumer electronics. I had the pleasure of working with Rob at HSN and I know he will be a great addition to our team.”

Goehring got a promotion. He began his Evine career in 2012, and most recently had the post of vice president of merchandising for the home and consumer electronics categories.

Prior to Evine, Goehring served for five years as vice president of national accounts at Technology Resource Group International and worked as a senior buyer at Target Corp. and Best Buy Co.

“We continue to drive our digital sales opportunity beyond traditional television as illustrated by our growth in mobile, social, online and emerging platforms like Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Firestick,” Rosenblatt said.

“Lee will be focused on creating a seamless connection from our TV platform to our e-commerce engine and exploring other ways to grow our digital platforms.”

Evine To Post 4Q Results March 22

March 2, 2017

Evine will report its fourth-quarter earnings on March 22, before the market opens, the No. 3 home shopping network said Wednesday.

CEO Bob Rosenblatt and Chief Financial Officer Tim Peterman will hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. to review the results and Evine’s strategy and plan for 2017.

Those interested in participating in the conference call should dial 1-877-407-9039 at least five minutes prior to the call.

There will be a simultaneous audio webcast available at the following link: http://event.on24.com/wcc/r/1282713/98B01DB2607F20329275F010EA22A090.

A replay of the conference call will also be hosted on the company’s website for a limited time.

QVC’s 4Q Revenue Drops 7 Percent, To $1.9 Billion

March 1, 2017

The end of last year was tough going for home shopping networks.

On Tuesday QVC’s parent released fourth-quarter earnings, and the channel saw a dip in its sales, just like its rival HSN recently reported.

QVC’s U.S. revenue dropped 7 percent, to $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter and 2 percent, to $6.1 billion, in 2016, according to Liberty Interactive Corp.

“Internationally, QVC continues to perform well, while domestically we are focusing on strengthening a few merchandise categories that have been weak,” Liberty Interactive President and CEO Greg Maffei said in a canned statement.

HSN just had similar bad news to report. Its net sales dipped 1 percent, to $769.3 million, in the fourth quarter versus the prior year. In 2016, HSN’s sales were down 3 percent, to $2.5 billion.

QVC’s top honcho Mike George had a lot of ‘splaining to do. And he did.

“Our international segment generated strong results in the quarter with broad-based sales gains and margin expansion,” George said. “The sales trend in our U.S. business persisted from the third quarter primarily due to continued headwinds in select categories. We have strong action plans in place and are confident in our ability to return the US business to growth.”

“In 2016, we continued to significantly advance our digital platforms. eCommerce and mobile penetration grew approximately 260 and 800 basis points, respectively,” he said. “As we begin 2017, we are serving a large, engaged customer base, and we are creating competitive advantages as we further extend our reach across digital and next generation commerce platforms. We will leverage these strengths to build on our highly differentiated shopping experience.”

In the quarter, QVC’s average selling price per unit (“ASP”) decreased 8 percent to $56.78, units sold increased 1 percent, and returns as a percentage of gross product revenue improved 32 basis points. The U.S. experienced year-over-year declines in all categories except apparel.

For the year, ASP decreased 6 percent to $57, units sold increased 2 percent, and returns as a percentage of gross product revenue improved 104 basis points. Domestic QVC experienced year-over-year declines in jewelry, electronics and beauty, which were partially offset by gains in apparel, home and accessories.

E-commerce revenue decreased 1 percent to $1.1 billion and grew 326 basis points to 56 percent of total U.S. revenue in the quarter. For the year, e-commerce revenue increased 4 percent to $3.2 billion and rose 328 basis points to 52 percent of total U.S. revenue.

In the quarter, operating income decreased 15 percent to $303 million, operating income margin declined 143 basis points, adjusted OIBDA decreased 9 percent to $438 million and adjusted OIBDA margin declined 43 basis points, including the aforementioned cost allocations.

Excluding the cost allocations, adjusted OIBDA decreased 10 percent to $431 million and adjusted OIBDA margin declined about 80 basis points, primarily due to higher freight and warehouse expenses and lack of sales leverage.

For the year, operating income decreased 6 percent to $915 million, operating income margin declined 58 basis points, adjusted OIBDA decreased 2 percent to $1.4 billion and adjusted OIBDA margin was flat, including the aforementioned cost allocations.

Excluding the cost allocations, adjusted OIBDA decreased 4 percent to $1.4 billion and adjusted OIBDA margin decreased roughly 50 basis points, primarily due to lower product margins and higher bad debt, freight and warehouse expenses, which were partially offset by lower personnel expenses and favorable inventory obsolescence.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2016, QVC began allocating certain corporate costs for management reporting purposes differently, Liberty Interactive said in its press release.

Historically, QVC allocated these costs to the market from which the services were provided. As more of QVC’s costs support initiatives in multiple markets, QVC is allocating costs to the markets that will benefit from the expenditures. These management cost allocations are related to certain functions, such as merchandising, commerce platforms, information technology, human resources, legal, finance, brand and communications, corporate development and administration.

The cost allocations (from QVC U.S. to QVC International) totaled about $7 million in the fourth quarter and $31 million for 2016. As a result of the allocations, the U.S. segment’s operating income and adjusted OIBDA margins were each positively impacted approximately 35 basis points in the quarter and 50 basis points for the full year.