Make us your home page

HSN sales up 4% but TV network sales stagnate

Sales at HSN Inc. rose a respectable 4 percent during the Christmas holiday quarter but were flat at the St. Petersburg e-commerce company's TV shopping business.

Overall, the quarter ending on Dec. 31 "was positive," said Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer. "But the final weeks (of the holidays) did not live up to our (sales) expectations."

In her first public statement on the subject, Grossman also put to rest last week's reports that she was being courted to take over as chief executive of troubled Avon Products Inc. The Tampa Bay Times had reported earlier that she spiked the speculation in a letter sent to 250 managers.

"Let me address the elephant in the room here," she volunteered in an earnings call with analysts. "I am not going anywhere (because HSN) is more than a job to me."

Excluding one-time charges, HSN beat analysts' earnings forecast with a 16 percent gain in net income to $54.2 million, or 89 cents a share, up from $46.1 million, or 77 cents a share, a year earlier.

Wall Street reacted. By late morning, HSN was trading at $37.49, up $1.13, before closing at $36.98, up 58 cents.

But while sales leapt 13 percent at the company's Cornerstone mail order catalogs, they only increased by $2.4 million to $639.2 million at the TV shopping business in St. Petersburg that accounted for two-thirds of the company's $3.2 billion in annual sales in 2011.

The weaker holiday performance dragged the network's full-year sales gain down to 2 percent.

The blame went to weakening demand and slumping prices for TVs and computers, as customers shifted their buying to less expensive tablets and mobile phones.

On the plus side, sales of culinary, home and beauty products were hits, and the network ended the year with 2 percent more regular shoppers on its customer lists. Meanwhile, sales at, which accounts for more than a third of the network's business, rose 9 percent.

Going forward, HSN will try to use 24-hour beauty broadcasts filled with demonstrations of cosmetics, skin care and related products to prospect for new customers.

New celebrity tie-ins include the network's first HSN Live music series with Lionel Ritchie singing to promote his duets album with country music stars like Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. This month Mario Lopez pitched his workout video and former Real Housewives of New York star Jill Zarin debuted her Skweez Couture shapewear line.

Other developments of note:

• shoppers buying from wireless phones or tablets tripled to $60 million in the last quarter.

• HSN stepped up its stock repurchase activity by buying and retiring 800,000 shares while maintaining its 12.5 cents a share quarterly dividend.

• After airing joint marketing/product deals with Hollywood film premiers of Eat Pray Love, Footloose and Katherine Heigl's One for the Money, HSN has another, unidentified movie promotion in the works for June.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

HSN sales up 4% but TV network sales stagnate 02/23/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband


    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location


    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]