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March 03, 2023

QVC hosts Carolyn Gracie, Dan Hughes among 400 laid off by network's parent company

The television shopping channel, owned by Qurate Retail Group, saw a decline in revenue last year

Longtime QVC hosts Carolyn Grace and Dan Hughes revealed they were among about 400 people laid off this week by the TV network's Cheste County-based parent company, Qurate Retail Group.

The layoffs came after Qurate's retail revenue declined by 14% last year.

"After careful consideration, we have made the very difficult decision to eliminate a number of roles within our Qurate Retail Group team, impacting our QVC US and HSN teams, and our corporate shared services teams in the U.S.," the company said Monday.

Tuesday was the last day of work for employees who were let go.

Gracie, who spent 19 years as a host on QVC's broadcasts, called her departure "bittersweet" in a Facebook post.

"I have loved every minute of my time there, especially the opportunity to get to know all of YOU," Gracie wrote. "You have been the most cherished part of my job as a QVC Host, and have shared your friendship with me through good times and bad … through challenges and triumphs. I am so grateful for you!"

Gracie added that she is setting up new Facebook and Instagram channels to remain connected with her audience.

Hughes spent 33 years with QVC and expressed gratitude for his time with the company, whose studio is located just outside of West Chester.

"Even more so I want to express my appreciation to you, the viewers, who built this amazing community and I hope you continue to do so for many years to come," Hughes wrote on Facebook. "It is time for me to focus fully on my writing. Spend more time with family and friends, and maybe tinker on a few projects which have sat on the back burner for way too long."

Hughes also said fans can follow him on his public Facebook page.

Qurate, which formerly operated as Liberty Interactive Corp., said it is providing severance pay and outplacement services to its former employees.

The company described its multi-year turnaround plan, called Project Athens, as an attempt stabilize core businesses and expand the company's efforts in video streaming commerce.

"These decisions are not easy but are necessary in realigning how we manage the business and heighten focus on critical priorities," the company said.

In its earnings announcement, Qurate said QVC and HSN, formerly known as the Home Shopping Network, together had an 11% decline in revenue last year, falling to about $7.4 billion. QVC International's revenue fell by 18%, while the online shopping company Zulily's revenue plummeted by 38%.

QVC acquired Zulily in 2015 and then completed a $2.1 billion merger two years later with rival HSN, creating the nation's third-largest e-retailer behind Amazon and Walmart.

Qurate later consolidated its offices and facilities, including the shutdown of a Bethlehem Zulily warehouse and a North Carolina distribution center that was heavily damaged by a fire in December 2021. QVC operates out of its Studio Park offices in West Chester.

Qurate said the North Carolina fire and supply chain constraints during the first half of last year contributed to its decision to eliminate staff. The company now has about 26,000 employees, down from approximately 28,000 around the time of the QVC-HSN merger.

"These decisions are not easy but are necessary in realigning how we manage the business and heighten focus on critical priorities," the company said.