May 20, 2003, 12:00 AM

Buoyed by web sales that rose 8%, ValueVision Media reports record Q1

Web sales and total sales both rose 8% in Q1 at Value Vision, the parent company of ShopNBC and ShopNBC.com. The company also announced the impending departure of CEO Gene McCaffery who will stay on board during a period of “planned transition.”

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Spurred in part by Internet sales that rose 8% to a record $25 million over last year for the first quarter ended April 30, ValueVision Media, owner and operator of ShopNBC and ShopNBC.com, reported net sales of $143 million, an 8% gain from a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $532,000 and reflected the $4.4 million gain from the media and retail company’s previously-reported sale of 10 television stations.

The TV and Internet shopping channel added 2.1 million new homes to its audience base over the previous quarter. ShopNBC added several new brands with programming wrapped around them during the quarter, including commerce agreements with Dell, the Discovery Channel’s retail division, Versace, Cuisinart, and Mikasa Crystal, among others. In other highlights for the quarter, ShopNBC’s credit card, a program launched 18 months ago, surpassed 150,000 accountholders. FanBuzz, a ValueVision subsidiary that provides e-commerce solutions to major media and brand companies, added sports and entertainment media companies to its client roster during the quarter, signing agreements with the Arena Football League and two national governing bodies of amateur sports, USAS Basketball and USA Gymnastics.

Almost eclipsing fist-quarter results was the company’s simultaneous announcement that its chairman and CEO Gene McCaffery will be leaving the company and is part of a transition process to determine his successor as CEO. In a letter to ShopNBC employees, McCaffery reiterated that his departure was a planned transition and that he would remain as chairman and CEO until a successor was found. His letter also indicated he expected to explore “ancillary business interests” as well as “political inclinations." McCaffery has been active in Republican Party politics at state and national levels.

McCaffery joined the just-launched ValueVision in 1998. “For some time I have considered bringing on board a new CEO to build upon what was a startup just a few years ago,” he said in a public statement following the announcement. “I feel confident ValueVision has a bright future and that a fresh look at the company will provide the impetus for continued growth and its resulting profitability.”

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