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Consumers Still Spending 'With a Purpose': HSN CEO

American consumers are still spending, cautiously, but doing so when and where they want, said the chief executive of HSN.

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"I do think consumers are discerning in what they are going to spend," Mindy Grossman told CNBC Wednesday. "If they are going to spend it they really want something that’s either going to impact their lives…or that they really wanted and it’s different."

Price is important, too, of course. "It really has to be a great price value," said the HSN executive. "I think we’re in that environment where [spending is] cautionary. They’re going to spend but they’re going to spend with a purpose."

Unlike, say, a trip to the mall, shoppers can access HSN whenever they want from home through the Home Shopping Network television channel, mobile phones, and computers, and even through a gaming portal, she said.

HSN offers a variety of products, including those pitched by celebrities Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Twiggy, and Queen Latifah. The company reported third-quarter earningsthat beat expectations Wednesday.

"You have to make [shopping] an experience" that is also entertaining, Grossman said. "We’re a content network. The other important thing is giving [consumers] access to that experience in a way where they can access it on their own terms."

That includes how they pay for the products. She said HSN's "FlexPay" online program "enables people to buy what they want and pay for it over time while they have it."