WEST CHESTER, Pa., March 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Qurate Retail Group, which includes the QVC brand, announced today that it will cease operations of its television network and digital platforms in France, effective March 13, 2019 at 2 p.m. local time.
"The decision to halt our QVC France operation was carefully considered, as QVC France had underperformed against financial and operational expectations, in large part due to unique in-market structural challenges and market dynamics that evolved in the years following the launch of the operation. We determined that these challenges were impacting our ability to develop our business in the manner we expected," said Aidan O'Meara, President, Qurate Retail Group International. "We want to thank our QVC France team members for their dedication, commitment, and professionalism throughout this period."
As a result of this decision, QVC will be able to better allocate its annual investment in France into other markets to drive sustainable organic growth. Further, many corporate functions within QVC are shared across the European markets, and the company believes that this action will allow the teams to better focus on other existing markets. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Qurate Retail, Inc., which includes QVC, recognized charges of approximately $13 million, of which $9 million was for severance and was excluded from Adjusted OIBDA, and $4 million was for inventory obsolescence and affected Adjusted OIBDA. The company expects to incur additional costs in 2019.
One hundred and fifty-four team members at QVC France will be impacted by the closure. Consistent with business practices and social policy in France, QVC France has completed the applicable consultation and regulatory approval processes, and appropriate steps are being taken to provide assistance and resources for the team members' transition. QVC customers in France will still be able to shop with QVC through its QVC UK and QVC Germany commerce platforms.
Outside of the US and France, QVC serves approximately 4.6 million customers in Germany and Austria, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and Ireland. QVC also serves customers through a joint venture in China. The company's commitment to innovation and high level of customer service continue to bring new customers to QVC and attract brands and entrepreneurs to its platforms.
This press release includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, statements about the reallocation of capital and growth opportunities, including internationally. These forward-looking statements involve many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements, including, without limitation, general market conditions, regulatory matters, competitive issues and continued access to capital on terms acceptable to Qurate Retail, Inc. ("QRI") and QVC, Inc. ("QVC"). These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and each of QRI and QVC expressly disclaim any obligations or undertakings to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in QRI's or QVC's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Please refer to the publicly filed documents of QRI and QVC, including each of their most recent Form 10-K for additional information about QRI and QVC, respectively, and about the risks and uncertainties related to each of QRI's and QVC's business which may affect the statements made in this press release.
About Qurate Retail Group
Qurate Retail Group comprises seven leading retail brands — QVC, HSN, Zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill and Grandin Road — all dedicated to providing a Third Way to ShopSM, beyond transactional ecommerce or traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Globally, Qurate Retail Group is #1 in video commerce, reaching approximately 380 million homes worldwide via 15 television networks and multiple ecommerce sites, social pages, mobile apps, print catalogs, and in-store destinations. Qurate Retail Group is #3 in ecommerce in North America and #3 in mobile commerce in the US (according to Internet Retailer). Qurate Retail Group combines the best of retail, media and social to curate products, experiences, conversations and communities for millions of highly discerning shoppers – bringing joy, inspiration and humanity to shopping. Qurate Retail Group also curates large audiences, across multiple platforms, for thousands of brand vendors. Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Qurate Retail Group has 27,000 team members in the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Poland and China. For more information, visit www.qurateretailgroup.com. Qurate Retail, Inc. (NASDAQ: QRTEA, QRTEB) includes the Qurate Retail Group portfolio of brands as well as other minority investments.