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Sales and profits rise at HSN but Smith + Noble is out

HSN Inc. on Wednesday beat analyst forecasts by reporting rising sales and profits for the fifth quarter in the row.

Sales at the St. Petersburg e-commerce retailer rose 5 percent, and net income jumped 29 percent to $26 million, or 44 cents per share from a year ago in the quarter that ended March 31. A consensus of analysts had projected earnings of 37 cents.

"It was a strong quarter," said Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of the parent of the pioneer TV shopping network and a collection of nine other mail order businesses ranging from Ballard Designs to Frontgate.

Not that there aren't a lot of changes at a retailer that now gets 43 percent of its sales online but is getting a rising number of orders over smartphone apps.

After buying the children's products website Chasing Fireflies, HSN has decided to give up the Smith+Noble catalog it acquired seven years ago. The company is putting up for sale the window treatment decorating business that generated $53 million in sales but minimal profit in 2011.

The TV network also is stepping up some of its newer ventures to win new viewers.

After an on-air and online Lionel Richie concert sold 20,000 CDs in an hour, HSN Live will become a quarterly event with country artist Josh Turner lined up next. The network's movie premiere tie-in with Snow White and the Huntsman on May 30 will feature 200 new spin-off products including the first ready-to-wear line from the film's Academy Award winning costume designer.

The network's product endorsement deal with magazine publisher Conde Nast has moved beyond Bon Appétit cookware to 10,000 items of House Beautiful home furnishings. Meanwhile, American Idol judge Randy Jackson has signed up to sell a line of watches on HSN, and 500,000 people have entered prize giveaways at HSN Arcade, the network's new online video game site that gained 200,000 registered users.

Grossman also said hsn.com, the website that generates about a third of the TV shopping network's sales, would soon be carrying more products from other mail order businesses.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8252.

Sales and profits rise at HSN but Smith + Noble is out 05/02/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 11:05pm]

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