ShopNBC Reduces Workforce By 11%

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Home shopping channel ShopNBC said Wednesday that it has laid off about 11% of its salaried workforce in an effort to cut costs, effective immediately.

The Eden Prairie. Minn.-based channel said that employees were offered competitive severance and outplacement services. In addition to the layoffs, ShopNBC said it will suspend its 401(k) match for fiscal 2009, and that it will initiate a hiring freeze and no merit pay increases for the coming fiscal year.

With the current round of layoffs, ShopNBC said it has reduced its salaried workforce by 27% since 2007.

The network has been plagued by declining sales -- its third-quarter revenue plunged 32% -- and increasing pressure from shareholders to sell the network. In September, ValueVision Media, ShopNBC’s parent company, succumbed to that pressure and put the network on the auction block.

In Wednesday ‘ announcement, ShopNBC said that it is making progress in carriage negotiations with cable and satellite operators and has signed deals representing about 18 million homes. The company said it would provide an update on continuing negotiations with cable operators before the end of the month.

“We are pleased with how our negotiations are proceeding,” ShopNBC president and COO Keith Stewart said in a statement. “To date, we have been successful in preserving our distribution footprint, which is important for our future growth as these homes are like our stores. We are maintaining strong relationships with our distribution partners and believe that we will be able to reach mutually beneficial agreements with most of our cable providers.”

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