Posts Tagged 'HSN'

Thoughts on the QVC-HSN merger

Here are some quick impressions that I posted on RetailWire about QVC’s plan to acquire HSN. “Home shopping” has lost its novelty — especially as TV viewers cut the cable cord — so the combined company faces some daunting challenges:

The initial benefit of the QVC-HSN merger comes from economies of scale in a mature segment. (It’s the same kind of play that Macy’s made for May Company several years ago, recognizing the lack of organic growth in traditional department stores.) But it’s clear that home shopping (via TV) is not where the action is. It’s up to QVC to figure out how to translate the “treasure hunt” experience of off-pricers to its model, and especially how to engage mobile shoppers at its site. It becomes an urgent challenge as more consumers (especially younger ones) continue to cut the cable cord.

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Why can’t Penney find a new CEO?

Following the recent news that Mindy Grossman of HSN turned down the lead job at JCPenney, RetailWire panelists had a chance to weigh in on the search. Most agreed with my assessment of the problems faced by the JCP board right now:

Part of the issue, as George Anderson points out, is the number of vacant jobs that would appear more attractive than the JCP position. Target would top the list, but Kohl’s is searching for a lead merchant with a possible shot at succession to the top job. Either of these companies is fundamentally better-positioned than Penney, despite their current issues.

Beyond the matter of competition, the bigger question is just what the JCP board wants. If it’s looking for a “transformational” CEO, it’s easy to understand being gunshy after the Ron Johnson fiasco. On the other hand, the “turn back the clock” strategy of Mike Ullman’s team is not a path to long-term sustainability. It’s hard to sell a top candidate on the job when the mission itself is unclear.