Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — QVC will open its first freestanding store July 14, in an experiment that the home shopping and Internet retailer hopes will attract customers who may have seen QVC on their televisions or computers, but have been reluctant to buy the products without being able to touch them first.
A nine-month lease was signed for a 500-square-foot space in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. QVC already operates outlets, but no regular-price stores.
“This is our first concept store,” said Nan Russell, QVC vice president of communication and influence marketing. “This is a test for us. We’ve learned that many people who watch us are reluctant to make that first purchase because they can’t touch and feel the merchandise, or see its quality before purchasing.”
Due to its limited space, the store will offer a sampling of QVC’s home, beauty and jewelry products. No apparel will be sold in the store.
“We’re not trying to be a brick-and-mortar store,” Russell explained. “We’re trying to introduce people to QVC.”
Russell said that the company will know “fairly quickly” if results at the test store warrant opening more stores. No other stores are currently planned. She declined to project a volume for the store.
She said that she doesn’t expect the store to cannibalize sales from the QVC shopping channel or Internet site since the store is seen as attracting new consumers, not those who shop the channel or the Web site.
“QVC will allow our customers a chance to see their products never before available in a mall setting,” said Maureen Bausch, general manager for Mall of America.
QVC, a $2.9 billion company, is the nation’s largest home shopping operation.

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