Qurate Retail Group, which operates HSN, QVC and Zulily, has teamed up with financial services firm Synchrony on a new, long-term agreement under which Synchrony will take over HSN's private-label credit card business, and continue to provide services to QVC and Zulily, according to a Synchrony press release.
Synchrony will become the financing provider for HSN's credit card business starting in August 2019, replacing the multi-channel shopping network's current provider.
The portions of the new agreement affecting QVC and Zulily are multi-year extensions of current agreements the companies have with Synchrony. QVC has worked with the financial firm since 2005, and Zulily has used Synchrony's services since 2017.
This is a very big win for Synchrony in retail after the big loss of Walmart as a partner earlier this year, an indignity compounded by Walmart's move a few months later to sue Synchrony for $800 million. Synchrony's new deal with Qurate comes not long after it earned an extension from long-time partner J.C. Penney, so it is doing its best to shrug off the Walmart fiasco.
Qurate should help soothe the pain, as the holding company is ranked third in e-commerce in North America and third in mobile commerce in the U.S., according to Internet Retailer. Previously known as Liberty Interactive, it rebranded earlier this year, and HSN and QVC both have made progress evolving to pursue multichannel commerce opportunities.
Like many companies in the retail sector, Qurate's properties also are facing increasing pressure to progress on the payments and financial services fronts. More retailers are starting to support a wider variety of payment methods, including mobile, and are expanding into financial services that sometimes include instant financing and other capabilities.
Synchrony's recently renewed deal with J.C. Penney included a mobile plug-in to enable smoother credit-based mobile payments, so it will be interesting to see if the Qurate brands get something similar. After the Walmart loss, Synchrony should realize that its ability to continue innovating is something that will continue to make it a valuable partner to Qurate.