The parent company of Eden Prairie-based cable shopping channel ShopHQ has laid off another 152 workers, including at least one host, in the latest blow to its turnaround efforts.
This is at least the fourth round of layoffs in less than a year at iMedia Brands Inc., which operates ShopHQ and recently launched several other specialty channels.
The company said in a state regulatory filing that the layoffs on March 24 and 25 included 108 Minnesota workers and was "due to significant and recent unforeseeable business circumstances, including the substantial market and financial impact of the global spread of COVID-19."
Among those apparently laid off was host Laura Duffek, who announced it in a private Facebook group, according to a home-shopping blog site. Duffek had been with the company since 2009, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Other terminations included those who worked directly on TV programming as well as buyers and those in merchandising, sales and finance. It also included 44 workers in iMedia Brands' warehouse and fulfillment center in Bowling Green, Ky., according to state records and a copy of the severance letter received by the Star Tribune.
The letter attributed the layoffs to the coronavirus pandemic "as well as other significant developments over the course of the last several days," but offered no specifics.
Workers' health coverage ended March 31, according to the letter. iMedia had suspended its 401(k) matching program earlier this year.
The company delayed an earnings announcement that had been scheduled for April 1 until April 15.
Chief Executive Tim Peterman did not immediately respond to efforts to reach him for comment.
Peterman has been trying to steer a turnaround at the company previously known as Evine since last May, when he and a new executive team and investor group led by the Invicta Watch Group took over.
ShopHQ has a loyal following, but is a distant third to QVC and HSN in the home-shopping category. It hasn't been profitable since 2017.
It launched the male-oriented Bulldog Shopping Network in November, featuring advertising-sponsored original programming "that will not sell anything — it will simply entertain."
The company made a splash earlier this year when it signed a deal with basketball superstar, TV personality and restaurateur Shaquille O'Neal to sell a line of Invicta watches on ShopHQ. O'Neal also debuted a one-hour cooking show on ShopHQ called "In the Kitchen with Shaq" in March.
The company laid off 20% of its workforce in May 2019, when Peterman took the helm, cutting $15 million in payroll.
Other workforce cuts came in October, when several veteran on-air personalities were let go, including Brian Kessler, Kimberly Wells and Kristine Kvanli.
Additional layoffs came in January, including the termination of its chief financial officer, and again in February.