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HSN to grow soft home with Iodice

With the recent addition of Anita Iodice as head of home fashions merchandising, the Home Shopping Network is well positioned to expand in that area and appeal to millions of new viewers.

"We've developed a pretty successful home business at HSN, and it's been one of the fastest growing areas over the past few years," said Jeff Taraschi, exec. vp of merchandising. HSN recently divided its home into hard goods and home decor so it could better develop those two areas, both online and on-air, with the website and television network.

"We recognized the customer demand for more home fashion decor, and found it necessary to add an experienced individual able to lead a stylized initiative to develop the soft home area," he told HTT.

Other retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Pier 1 all develop product to suit a centralized vision, he said, and HSN wants to do the same by placing all of its home fashions under one leader. "We think this is the most effective way to do this."

HSN's core strategy is to expand its current customer audience with a wider assortment of product, and Taraschi thinks the customer base can be doubled over the next few years. "There's probably 55 million female non-viewers out there that fit our demographic," he said, and HSN already has an "aggressive customer acquisition program" in place.

Bath, bedding, rugs and other textiles are an important part of HSN's focus, and will grow, he said, as well as seasonal goods.

HSN will also build upon its proprietary and national brands, something Iodice is intimately familiar with after her experience as president of The Company Store, as well as other positions with Eddie Bauer and Lands' End. Though she wants to begin first by learning the business and the players, Iodice added that "proprietary brands will be a big part of it."

In the new year, HSN will release more information on these new types of developments, Taraschi said.

The textiles category lends itself to TV very well, he added. "Our customer is very feature- and benefit-oriented," and both the TV and online environment allow the retailer to educate customers about such features as down fill, for example, which is more difficult to do in a bricks-and-mortar store. "We can educate them about the construction and content of a product, as well as provide fashion advice," Taraschi said.

Textiles are featured on HSN's TV channel about six or seven times an hour, he said, though he hoped to increase the category's air time in the future. The online site allows viewers to shop all of the categories at once, and HSN has "been effective in building a parallel path between the TV and websites."

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