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Integrated QVC-HSN, Dubbed QXH, Means 2,000 Layoffs

October 18, 2018

When QVC’s parent company acquired HSN last year, everyone knew it would mean massive changes and eventually, massive layoffs. Well, that other shoe dropped Wednesday. We’re still not sure where Joy Mangano ends up in all of this.

Here is the lengthy press release:

http://ir.qurateretail.com/news-releases/news-release-details/qurate-retail-group-announces-initiatives-deliver-long-term

So no, the QVC and HSN TV networks will not be merged into one. But they will be placed under one business unit, called QXH. Catchy, huh?

The new unit was part of Qurate Retail Group’s announcement about a massive restructuring that calls for integrating not only QVC and HSN’s fulfillment centers but also its buying organizations.

The end result? Some 2,000 people will be out of jobs, about 350 coming mainly from HSN’s HQ in St. Petersburg, Fla., which will remain open, and the rest from three fulfillment centers that Qurate will be closing.

The company also plans to lease space in a new warehouse facility, a honking 1- million-square-foot logistics center in Bethlehem, Penn. There will be 1,200 to 1,500 new jobs there, if you are looking for a silver lining.

Here’s the send-off that Mike George, Qurate president and CEO, gave to workers losing their jobs, including some folks who apparently had worked at the home shopping networks for 25 years.

“Today’s initiatives are the next step in our ongoing review of how to best continue the integration of HSN and QVC,” George said in a statement.

“With a focus on driving digital transformation, these efforts will extend our leadership in social, digital, and video commerce. I want to thank the many dedicated team members who will be impacted by these changes. Their commitment to HSN, QVC, and our customers, in some cases spanning 25 years or more, has been instrumental to our success. Our excitement today over the positive impact of these changes is tempered by the loss of many valued team members.”

The consolidation will result in streamlining that “will ensure an aligned approach to the U.S. market and better leverage the combined scale and resources of the two organizations, while still maintaining the unique identity of each brand and the St. Petersburg, Fla., campus for HSN,” Qurate said in its press release.

“The QXH name reflects the continued importance of the QVC and HSN brands, the multiplying power of bringing these brands together to maximize performance in the US market, and the engaging customer experiences we will offer across our five HSN, QVC, and Beauty iQ networks and digital properties,” George said.

OK, know we get it: QVC times HSN = QXH.

There will no be only one buying team for HSN and QVC, which to us seems it will make it hard to keep distinct identities for each network.

“HSN and QVC US buying organizations are being combined and structured around seven strategic category groups: Apparel, Accessories and Jewelry, Beauty, Kitchen Electronics and Cookware, Home Innovations, Home Style, and Consumer Electronics,” Qurate’s press release said. “Category leaders will be responsible for developing and driving strategies to maximize growth in the US market, across both the QVC and HSN platforms.”

The release goes on, “This integrated buying organization is expected to provide several benefits, including: increased speed to market with the best brands, products, ideas and entrepreneurs; optimized product assortments across QXH’s five US networks and multiple web and social platforms to maximize customer choice; a more aggressive pursuit of white space opportunities; and better alignment with our vendor partners.”

As for merging fulfillment operations, Qurate said it will be far more efficient and mean we customers will get our packages sooner. Right now Qurate operates four HSN and five QVC fulfillment centers, with many of them dedicated to specific categories, such as hard goods or apparel.

Over the next three to four years Qurate plans to combine HSN and QVC fulfillment centers so that they carry “the full product assortments” of both brands, in order to combine shipments to the customer and lower operating expenses.

“Once completed, the integrated fulfillment network is expected to: increase average delivery speeds to customers by two days; enable more items to be consolidated into single shipments to improve customer convenience; and deliver significant savings in freight and fixed costs,” Qurate said.

The press release also has possible ominous news about Ingenious Designs, inventor Joy Mangano’s company, which is part of HSN and home to the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers.

“HSN is closing its Ingenious Designs facility in Long Island, NY, shifting the design and sourcing of those product lines to QRG’s (Qurate’s) in-house design and sourcing team,” the parent company said.

Does that mean that Mangano is losing her own design team, and control of her company? Will she be staying on-board?

There are a couple of winners in this QVC-HSN scenario.

Mary Campbell, chief merchandising officer for Qurate and chief commerce officer for QVC U.S., will be responsible for QXH merchandising, marketing, brand and digital strategy and the QVC U.S. digital, content and broadcast operations. She will have primary responsibility for the development and growth of the QVC brand.

HSN President Mike Fitzharris who will be responsible for QXH video platform expansion and distribution and the HSN digital, content and broadcast operations. He will have primary responsibility for the development and growth of the HSN brand and oversight of the St. Petersburg campus.

They will both report to George.

QVC U.S. President Steve Hofmann is being kicked to the curb. His position is being eliminated, and his last day is Friday.

To sum up, some of us were surprised to see veteran QVC jewelry vendor Judith Ripka appear on HSN a few days ago. Expect to see a lot more of that QVC-HSN crossovers.

As someone who has been laid off twice, with the first time more devastating than we could ever explain to you, we certainly feel for those who are getting pink slips. But we lost our jobs during the Great Recession, the worse economic period since the Great Depression.

The U.S. economy is booming now, with unemployment at record lows, so we know you HSN and QVC folks will find new jobs a lot faster than we did. We wish you the best.

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Evine Sales Flat In Second-Quarter

September 3, 2018

Catching up here, on the second-quarter results that Evine posted last week.

Everythng’s relative, we guess, and the No. 3 home shopping reported basically flat sales, up just over 1 percent to $150.8 million. Since HSN was down 11 percent and QVC saw a 4 percent gain.

Evine cut its net loss, bringing it down to $40,000, “improved by approximately $2.0 million year-over-year, representing the best second quarter performance since fiscal 2000,” according to the company. It also boasted that it had introduced 17 new brands during the second quarter.

And there were lengthy remarks Evine CEO Bob Rosenblatt.

We had a very productive quarter and I’m pleased with our results. We not only accelerated top line growth, but we improved bottom line profitability and grew Adjusted EBITDA by 12 percent year-over-year. We also strengthened our balance sheet and overall liquidity with an amendment of our credit facility that will provide interest expense savings and additional availability.

Our expertise is in building great brands. We do this by curating a portfolio of enticing products that have a unique story and then, with the right storyteller, we bring these products and brands to life across all of our platforms.

We strive to keep our content fresh and relevant with a combination of both core and new brands. To that end, we introduced 17 new brands during the quarter and celebrated a number of milestone anniversaries. Additionally, during the quarter, we continued to advance our digital and social initiatives, grow our subscription business and increase purchase frequency.

As previously announced, Evine noted that Anne Martin-Vachon had joined the network as president Aug. 1, and oversees merchandising, marketing, digital, broadcast and production. Previously, Martin-Vachon was president of the Canadian multiplatform digital commerce company TSC – Today’s Shopping Choice, a division of Rogers Media.

Evine also said that:

* The top performing category in the quarter was beauty and wellness, which grew 27 percent year-over-year, reflecting continued strength from our subscription business.

* Digital net sales as a percentage of total net sales increased 450 basis points to 52.6 percent, reflecting a continued focus on making the customer experience seamless across all platforms.

* The return rate for the quarter was 18.7 percent; an improvement of 40 basis points year-over-year and across multiple categories.

* Gross profit dollars increased to $56.9 million and gross profit margin was 37.7 percent.

* Operating expenses decreased 1.7 percent or about $1 million year-over-year to $56.0 million, reflecting reduced variable selling and distribution expenses.

QVC Second-Quarter Sales Up 4 Percent, HSN Down

August 12, 2018

It was a tale of two home shopping networks in the second quarter, with QVC seeing sales rise 4 percent and HSN seeing an 11 percent drop. Both are under the same ownership now, part of Qurate Retail Inc.

QVC’s revenue rose to $1.43 billion, from $1.37 billion a year ago. HSN saw sales of $473 million, down from $533 million in the prior-year quarter.

There were some bookkeeping changes, so Qurate added many caveats in its second-quarter earnings report, such as, “QVC US revenue (was) up 4 percent as reported, up 2 percent on a comparative basis excluding impact of new accounting standards regarding credit card income.

You can see for yourselves:

http://ir.qurateretail.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1074387

“We continued our sales growth at QVC and the strong momentum at zulily, as well as initial profit improvement at HSN as we implement our operating strategies,” Mike George, Qurate Retail’s president and CEO, said in a canned statement.

“We are showing solid early execution on strategic priorities to expand and engage our customer base across platforms and achieve attractive operating synergies,” he said. “Qurate realized strong growth in its total customer count, led by zulily and QVC, and significantly grew customer engagement as we increased exposure on emerging video and social platforms and continued to strengthen our performance marketing capabilities. Qurate Retail’s unique position at the intersection of key trends in retail, together with our operational execution, will set a strong foundation to drive sustainable growth and long term value creation.”

QVC saw year-over-year sales gains in apparel and accessories, which were partially offset by declines in home, beauty, electronics and jewelry, according to the second-quarter press release.

In the second quarter, HSN’s sales mix shifted to home, accessories and beauty from apparel, jewelry and electronics, the release said. Return rates improved due to the sales mix shift toward product categories with lower return rates and a continued positive trend in several categories. The decline in operating income margin is primarily due to purchase accounting amortization.

Here’s some of the accounting stuff that we can’t make heads nor tails of.
tQuaraye Retail adopted the new U.S. accounting standard regarding revenue recognition (ASC 606) as of January 1, 2018. Accordingly, QVC, HSN and zulily recognize credit card income for their branded credit cards as part of net revenue rather than as an offset to SG&A expense.

This change will positively impact Qurate Retail’s revenue for 2018. Qurate Retail is providing comparable results in addition to GAAP results where applicable and the narrative in this press release is presented excluding the impact of this accounting adjustment. The zulily-branded credit card was first implemented in the third quarter of 2017 and this change did not have a material impact on zulily’s reported revenue in the second quarter of 2018.

In addition, under new revenue recognition standards, Qurate Retail now recognizes revenue at the time of shipment as opposed to delivery. This accounting change had a modestly negative impact on reported results for Qurate Retail in the second quarter, but this impact is expected to balance out over 2018. As such, comparable results presented in this press release are not adjusted for this change. HSNi previously recognized revenue at the time of shipment, so there is no impact to HSNi’s reported results.

In the wake of acquiring HSN, Qurate Retail saw $8 million in cost synergies in the second quarter, of which about “$6 million benefited operating income and adjusted OIBDA and the remaining $2 million relate to equity compensation expense.”
Qurate Retail remains on track to achieve $35 million to $40 million of cost synergies this year, according to the press release

HSN Host Adam Freeman’s New Delivery

July 29, 2018

Congrats to Brit HSN host Adam Freeman and his wife Chelsea, who welcomed an addition to their family this weekend.

On Facebook ever-affable Freeman introduced newcomer Sebastian Reid Freeman. The host posted a photo of him and his wife, the newborn and their son Oliver.

Well done, ol’ chap.

Speaking of those from over the pond, a little bird told us that a QVC UK veteran, Anthony Heywood, is heading to the U.S. QVC.

And Terri Conn, an actress on the daytime soap “As the World Turns,” told “Soaps in Depth” that she is on her way to becoming a QVC host. She said she starts six months of training in September and won’t be on-the-air until February.

On another front, today we noticed some co-mingling of QVC and HSN products in the wake of the No. 1 home shopping network’s parent buying No. 2. Dooney & Bourke handbags, long a QVC staple, are now for sale on HSN.com.

We’re not sure if we like the mixing up of brands. Like one of our readers, we were kind of pissed when QVC pulled shoe brand Vince Camuto off HSN and brought it to West Chester. We thought it was kind of dissing HSN, as if it weren’t good enough to sell Camuto shoes.

HSN’s Higher Beekman Prices, QVC Garden Guy Gone

July 23, 2018

As we’ve already mentioned on Facebook, the worst-kept secret ever was already officially announced – that former Evine vendors the Beekman Boys are taking their goat soap to HSN. They premiere July 31.

But we’ve heard from since then, from several people, is the have really jacked up their prices with the move. As in $48 on HSN versus $39 on Evine for soap. Not cool.

And in another tidbit, former QVC gardening guru Phillip Watson is hitting the road as he’s decided to pursue other interests. We have never watched a home-shopping gardening in our lives, but some of his fans were upset.

Dallas Prince’s Husband Is Recovering From Second Heart Attack

July 23, 2018

This morning we were shocked to read on Facebook a post by Evine jewelry vendor Dallas Prince saying that her husband Vincent had suffered another heart attack.

Her spouse, Vincent Ciurluini, had a near fatal heart attack a few years back. We can certainly empathize with her since our dad survived a near-fatal attack and then was in and out of the hospital more than a dozen times with more heart scares.

“I almost lost Mr. Wonderful,” Prince posted. “My husband, Vincent, suffered another heart attack today while driving home. We stayed on the phone together and met at the hospital. He is out of surgery and sleeping. I have never cried that hard in my life….. truly believe in prayers & miracles.”

Vincent is also in the jewelry business, And the two of them with their gorgeous smiles are one of the most stunning couples ever.

We’re praying for Vincent’s swift recovery.

Bill Green To Rep Returning Technibond on HSN

July 16, 2018

Just a quick tidbit: Former HSN host Bill Green will now be acting as the permanent guess for shows featuring not only Sevilla Silver but the long-missing Technibond line at the No. 2 home shopping channel.

Technibond is a house-brand jewelry collection that typically features real gemstones but 14 carat gold-plated sterling silver.

Green trumpeted the news on Facebook, posting “Technibond Returns to HSN,” July 27, adding “Premiere All New” Sept 12.

QVC, HSN Parent To Report 2Q Earnings Aug. 8

July 16, 2018

Qurate Retail Inc., the company that now owns both QVC and HSN, will announce its second-quarter earnings Aug. 8.

Qurate President and CEO Mike George and Executive Chairman Greg Maffei will host a conference call to discuss results at 11 a.m.

Following their canned remarks, the company will field questions from Wall Street analysts. During the call, George and Maffei may discuss the financial performance and outlook of the company, as well as other forward looking matters.

Please call ReadyTalk at (800) 289-0438 or (323) 994-2083, passcode 4555818, at least 10 minutes prior to the call.

In addition, the earnings conference call will be broadcast live via the Internet. All interested participants should visit the Qurate Retail website at http://ir.qurateretail.com/events.cfm to register for the web cast.

Links to the press release and replays of the call will also be available on the Qurate Retail website. The conference call will be archived on the website for one year after appropriate filings have been made with the SEC.

‘Amigo’ Deasy Leaving Evine, Wife Crowell Staying

June 26, 2018

It’s official: Paul Deasy, one of Evine’s Three Amigos, is leaving the home shopping network to go to HSN this fall. But his wife Judy Crowell is staying at the Minnesota channel.

Former home shopping host Deasy relayed the news in a live Facebook chat with his wife and fellow home shopping host/jewelry vendor Crowell this weekend.

Deasy and Crowell, if we recall correctly, have both appeared on QVC and HSN as well as Evine. And Crowell was also a vendor briefly for Jewelry Television. Then the couple came on-board Evine, the No. 3 home shopping venue. Deasy’s specialty was turquoise.

Deasy and veteran Evine jewelry vendors Chuck “Jersey Boy” Clemency and Michael Valitutti were the network’s Three Amigos. But Clemency said that moniker will be retired.

Deasy said that he has a few appearances coming up on Evine in early July.

Amazon Looms, New Evine Prez, Beekman Boys to HSN ?

June 23, 2018

Because of family and work duties, we haven’t had time to blog. But here’s playing some catch-up.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon dipped its toe into home shopping show it had, “Style Code Live.” It pulled the plug on that but has not given up.

GearBrain.com reported that Amazon has filed a patent for “a live online shopping service where viewers watch products being demonstrated and can buy them with a click of their mouse or tap of the screen.”

https://www.gearbrain.com/amazon-live-tv-shopping-patent-2579439933.html

Seems this is what will be part of a service called Amazon Live.

On another note, talk has surfaced again that those goat herders the Beekman Boys, who sell natural products created from the milk of the horned beasts, are heading to HSN after recently leaving Evine.

And speaking of Evine, we used to get all its press releases. No more. So this snuck by us earlier this month: The network has named a new president, Anne Martin-Vachon, who joins the company Aug. 1.

She will report to CEO Bob Rosenblatt. Chief Merchandising Officer Michael Henry and Chief Marketing Officer Nicole Ostoya will report to Martin-Vachon, who is coming from TSC – Today’s Shopping Choice, a division of Rogers Media.

The boilerplate on her says:

She spent the last two years there as president and is credited with the operational and sales turnaround of the company. Her expertise lies in cultivating a high-performing team, leading brand transformations that resonate with customers, the instinct to curate a product assortment that shoppers want, and keen attention to top-and-bottom-line growth – all with the customers’ experience at the center.

With passion, experience, and business savvy, Ms. Martin-Vachon is uniquely suited to lead Evine’s next chapter.

“Evine has now entered the third year of its three-year turn around,” said Rosenblatt. “Anne is the perfect fit to continue to grow our sales and merchandising organization and deliver on our strategy to grow both sales and profit this year. She has a great track record and brings a balance of creative and operational strength to the position. She also has the unique position to have strong partnerships already in place with many of the brands that are here at Evine, that also appear on TSC, and will be hitting the ground running.”

During her Canadian tenure, Ms. Martin-Vachon rebranded the company (from The Shopping Channel to TSC -Today’s Shopping Choice), grew the customer base, re-energized the merchandise portfolio, and improved the broadcast and digital content experience to deepen customer engagement. Operationally, she reorganized the company, simplified processes, focused on flawless execution to deliver a better end-to-end customer experience, transformed the digital marketing strategy, and reduced inventories by 30 percent.

“Ms. Martin-Vachon has been able to leverage her considerable experience over the last couple of years with the impressive work she has done with the TSC turnaround,” said Landel Hobbs Chairman of the Board at Evine. “Her results are a testament to her focus, growing sales and margin at TSC by double digits and delivering record results during her tenure there.”

“I love the multiplatform digital retail experience – this is my sweet spot,” said Anne Martin-Vachon, incoming President, Evine. “We are storytellers. The story of great brands told by expert storytellers, and that unique trust we create with our customer. Now, as I join the company, I am looking forward to shaping the exciting next chapter in the Evine story – it’s going to be a great one!”

Prior to her appointment as President of TSC, Ms. Martin-Vachon was Chief Merchandising, Planning and Programming officer at HSN, The Home Shopping Network.

Before joining HSN, Ms. Martin-Vachon held various executive positions in the consumer package goods and retail industry including Chief Marketing Officer at Nordstrom, Inc., a leading fashion specialty retailer, Chief Executive Officer at Lise Watier Cosmétiques, Inc., a Canadian-based beauty and skincare company, and Chief Marketing Officer at Bath & Bodyworks, LLC, which operates retail stores for personal care products.

Ms. Martin-Vachon began her career at the Procter & Gamble company where she spent more than 20 years in a variety of marketing and general management leadership positions across the company‘s portfolio of beauty, personal care and household brands.