Hanover Sells Improvements to HSN

Weehawken, NJ—As part of its continuing restructuring to focus on its core home fashions books, Hanover Direct on June 14 agreed to sell its Improvements home and garden products catalog to home shopping television network HSN for $33.4 million.

In the sale, which is expected to close by the end of June, HSN will buy all of Improvements’ assets and liabilities, including the catalog, lists, inventory, and payables. Hanover’s Keystone subsidiary will provide fulfillment services for Improvements under a three-year agreement.

The price “was very attractive and to the benefit of the stockholders,” says Hanover executive vice president/chief financial officer Brian Harriss, “and the buyer was attractive because HSN is able to offer new growth opportunities to the Improvements business.”

Hanover’s remaining properties include the upscale décor and gifts store Gump’s and the Gump’s by Mail catalog, both of which are also up for sale; plus-size women’s apparel catalog Silhouettes, and bedding and home goods books The Company Store and Domestications. Hanover reached $603 million in sales for 2000, with Improvements accounting for less than 10% of that sum, Harriss says.

As for St. Petersburg, FL-based HSN, the acquisition “will help us grow our business by offering our customers another exciting shopping platform, helmed by a strong management team with an impressive track record,” president/CEO Mark Bozek said in a statement.

The deal didn’t “totally surprise” catalog consultant and investor Coy Clement, president/CEO of East Greenwich, RI-based ClementDirect, who led the launch of Improvements a decade ago. “Hanover has done a fair amount of experimentation with TV marketing with the Improvements brand in the past, so I think it’s a good fit.”

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