Qurate Retail Group (QRG) announced several initiatives designed to better position its HSN and QVC U.S. businesses for long-term growth. Most important is the formation of an integrated business unit called QXH, which Qurate said will ensure an aligned approach to the U.S. market. As part of the transformation, Qurate will eliminate 350 positions by the end of the year, the majority at HSN's St. Petersburg, Fla. and Long Island, N, Y. operations. Qurate will also be closing fulfillment centers in Lancaster, Pa.; Roanoke, Va.; and Greeneville, Tenn. in 2020. Approximately 1,725 positions will be eliminated in these centers, but QRG plans to hire 1,200 to 1,500 workers for a new fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Pa. Lastly, the QVC U.S. president role is being eliminated, and Steve Hofmann, who currently holds that position, will be leaving Qurate effective Oct. 19.
Total Retail's Take: Since QVC acquired HSN in July 2017, many in the industry have speculated that this day would be coming — the merging of the two former rivals into one business unit. By combining HSN and QVC's U.S. fulfillment networks, QRG will experience increased speed to market; optimized product assortments across QXH's five U.S. networks and multiple web and social platforms; and a better alignment with its vendor partners. QRG seems to realize that it must make significant changes if it plans to meet the needs of today's digital-savvy consumers, and these changes are a step in that direction. Taken together, HSN and QVC U.S. generated $8.5 billion in revenue in 2017, reached 100 million homes through five broadcast networks, attracted more than 1 billion visits to their websites, and shipped over 170 million items, according to QRG.