ShopNBC Drops in Q1

Economy Sinks Financial Results for Cable Shopping Channel Owned by NBC Universal, ValueVision
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The down economy apparently did a number on the financial numbers for ShopNBC, NBC Universal’s and ValueVision's cable shopping channel.

The channel posted an $18 million loss in the first quarter of 2008 versus a $34 million profit in the same quarter in 2007.

ShopNBC recorded $156 million in revenues, a 17% drop from first-quarter 2007.

But the company pointed out that the Q1 2007 number was boosted by a one-time $40 million gain on the sale of Polo.com. In addition, the 2008 loss included $3.8 million in what it called an "inventory-impairment" charge. Translation: It had too much big-ticket jewelry in inventory -- a tough sell in a down market -- so it slashed prices and margins to reduce that inventory.

"Our results in the first quarter were disappointing and considerably below expectations," ShopNBC chairman John Buck said of the loss. "Like many other retailers, we continued to face a difficult consumer economy and a slowdown in discretionary spending. We also began shifting away from consumer electronics -- a category that drives top-line sales but typically results in one-time customers who contribute less to long-term success.”

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