Why Liberty Interactive Corp. Shares Plunged Today

Cable TV's shopping networks are not doing much better than the crumbling mall you see down the road.

Anders Bylund
Anders Bylund
Feb 28, 2017 at 5:06PM
Consumer Goods

What happened

Shares of Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA) fell as much as 13.6% on Tuesday morning, hamstrung by a disappointing fourth-quarter report. Share prices stabilized, then recovered to finish the day closer to a 7% drop. Shares in the vote-boosted Series B stock (NASDAQ:QVCB), which carries ten votes per share as opposed to QVCA's single vote per share, fell as much as 16.9%.

So what

Sales decreased 3% year over year, landing at $3.1 billion. Adjusted earnings fell 8% to $0.57 per diluted share. The core operations under the QVC US banner saw operating income plunging 15% lower on 7% lower revenues, while the smaller QVC International segment held steady, and the tiny e-commerce platform Zulily doubled its operating income on 10% higher sales.

Man using tablet on a couch

That cushy living room couch isn't just for watching TV anymore. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Here, like everywhere else, many consumers are giving up traditional retail channels in favor of online shopping experiences. Infomercial-style TV channels QVC and the Home Shopping Network -- both under the Liberty Interactive umbrella -- are old hat, and it shows in these financial results.

Liberty Interactive might want to double down on more e-commerce platforms in the Zulily format, or perhaps lean into better online shopping tools for the HSN and QVC brands. Meanwhile, investors are probably better served by e-tailers born and bred in a modern, efficient business model with low capital costs.

The writing is on the wall.