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HSN’s revenue slumps 5 percent, but parent company still posts higher sales

St. Petersburg-based HSN has seen quarterly revenues drop 5 percent compared to a year ago, according to the parent company that laid off hundreds of Tampa Bay employees last month, Qurate Retail Group.

Colorado-based Qurate Retail came out with its third quarter earnings on Friday, which showed its other home-shopping network, QVC, had just 1 percent in comparative revenue growth in the period ending Sept. 30. Both at-home shopping brands were combined under one business unit, "QXH," to streamline shipping and cut back-end costs, the company announced last month.

The retail conglomerate’s online sales site, Zulily, led the company’s revenues growth with an 18 percent increase. The entire company — which owns seven brands — grew its revenue by 2 percent to $3.2 billion.

Its net income of $72 million (or 16 cents a share), was down from earnings of $119 million (26 cents a share) a year ago. But that beat Wall Street expectations, according to estimates by Zacks Investment Research.

"Our solid third quarter results demonstrate continued execution of our strategy to engage our customers with compelling products across multiple shopping platforms," Mike George, Qurate Retail’s president and CEO said during a conference call with investors on Friday. "We grew revenue and profitability at QVC U.S., improved HSN’s sales trend and customer engagement trends, and delivered another outstanding quarter at Zulily."

Previous coverage: HSN to cut hundreds of workers as it merges with QVC under new ‘QXH’ business unit

George went on to say the "QXH" shift will "yield new revenue opportunities," improve customer service and operating costs. He said he felt confident in the future of both brands, their combined buying power while dealing with vendors and their growing video commerce model.

Already, Qurate announced a slew of new social media strategies for HSN and QVC including YouTube shows, podcasts and Instagram TV videos to reach younger shoppers during the ongoing shift away from cable-TV shopping.

While he didn’t cite any numbers, George said the networks had multi-quarters of increasing viewership on television.

"There’s still a core TV viewer sticking with us," he said.

However, George acknowledged the broader shift away from cable and to streaming services and said that’s why the company is diversifying how it delivers its programming content, especially on mobile devices.

"We’re in the very early innings of where this is going," he said.

Qurate reported $1.9 billion of its revenue this last quarter came from online business.

As of 2 p.m., Qurate’s stock was up about 5 percent at nearly $25 per share.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale

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