Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

HSN CEO Grossman says her 'commitment is here,' not retail

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, in response to national reports that she could be leaving HSN Inc. to become head of a major retailer, said Thursday "my commitment is here.''

Although HSN's CEO stopped short of saying she would never leave the home shopping network, she said that, professionally and personally, her commitment remains with HSN and the team she has assembled over the past several years.

"I guess I'm going to be buried here,'' she said during a conference call about the company's second-quarter earnings report.

The comments were her first public statements on the issue since reports surfaced this summer that she was up for the top jobs at struggling retailers J.C. Penney and Target. Target has since appointed PepsiCo executive Brian Cornell to serve as CEO.

Describing the media reports as "annoying'' and "distracting,'' Grossman, 57, said retail is in a sad state when the same few names are "being circulated like bad rainwater'' to fill CEO jobs. She went on to say she likes being at the center of media, entertainment and commerce, something traditional brick-and-mortar retailers can't offer.

Grossman's comments came amid news of a solid earnings report for the St. Petersburg-based retailer that operates HSN and Cornerstone brands of home and apparel items sold through catalogs and online. Sales for the quarter ended June 30 rose to $855 million, up 5 percent compared with the same period last year.

Earnings per share dipped 4 percent to 76 cents, but the average price point per item rose slightly to $65.15.

Digital sales grew 9 percent, with mobile sales done through smartphones and other portable devices representing 15 percent of total sales.

Net income, however, was down 5 percent to $40.9 million, mostly because of Cornerstone's Garnet Hill and Frontgate brands. Those brands struggled, Grossman said, because of weak demand for apparel and heavy discounting industrywide.

Without elaborating, Grossman said the company is looking into adding "concept experiences'' in physical stores to boost awareness and sales of certain brands.

"The world does not need another store,'' she said. "But it does need new and exciting destinations and experiences for customers.''

Contact Susan Thurston at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110. Follow @susan_thurston.

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