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HSN officially becomes QVC subsidiary months after once-rival networks combine staffing

HSN is now a subsidiary of QVC, Inc. [Photo courtesy of HSN)]
HSN is now a subsidiary of QVC, Inc. [Photo courtesy of HSN)]
Published Mar. 4, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The shopping conglomerate that owns HSN and QVC has restructured the company even more since combining the two networks under the same business in the fall, its chief executive told investors on Thursday.

In its shareholder breakdown of year-end and fourth-quarter revenues, Qurate Retail, Inc. noted that HSN is now a subsidiary of QVC Inc. Despite maintaining its branding, network and local offices, HSN has officially been absorbed by its long-time at-home shopping rival. As of Dec. 31, QVC included QVC U.S., QVC International and HSN.

"With 2018 behind us," Qurate Retail CEO Mike George said at the end of his remarks to investors, "let me close by thanking our 27,000 Qurate Retail team members, who came together last year to form our new company, to integrate our varied businesses and practices, and take the hard actions necessary to position us for the long term."

The shopping company's end-of-year result showed major growth in new shoppers, with QVC U.S. operation adding a million new customers in the fourth quarter, a new all-time record. HSN, which had three previous years of declining customer growth, gained 400,000 in the quarter.

"It's important to note that accelerated new customer growth is a modest immediate top line benefit," George said, "But we believe it's an important driver of long-term performance."

[Lawsuit spells out tumultuous time during HSN and QVC merger]

The company's total revenue grew by only 1 percent in the last quarter to $4.37 billion. Revenue for the entire year grew 2 percent to about $14 billion. At HSN, revenue dropped 7 percent over the fiscal year. Its viewership minutes, however, increased about 5 percent in the fourth quarter after double-digit declines in the first half of 2018.

In October, HSN cut hundreds of jobs in its St. Petersburg office as it merged jobs with QVC. The company announced it would relocate and combine the networks' fulfillment centers with the goal off shaving two days off of delivery time. A Bethlehem, Pa. center is scheduled to open in the fall.

"We realize we're operating in a time of heightened macroeconomic uncertainty in a highly competitive retail environment," George said. "One of the underlying benefits of our model is our agility."

This story has been updated to properly reflect Mike George's statements in the earnings phone call.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.