Tag Archives: new products

Martha and Macy’s Announce New “Whim” Collection

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Martha and Macy’s appear to have gotten their business relationship back on track, and have just announced the all-new Whim Collection of household items, to be sold exclusively at Macy’s. Based on Martha’s quote below, it sounds as if the new collection has much in common with the items planned for Martha’s store-within-a-store at JC Penney’s stores. Interestingly, the new collection is presented as stand-alone, and branded with the Whim logo (shown above). The collection does look to have brighter colors, and might appeal more to a younger demographic. FOMs: What do you think? Are you ready for the Whim Collection, or do you think Martha Stewart doesn’t need a sub-brand?

From the press release:

“It’s wonderfully fun, fresh and vibrant, easy to live with, and in addition, very affordable,” said MSLO Founder and Chief Creative Officer Martha Stewart. ”I think consumers who want something new and different will discover a lot to love in the Whim collection. Add a bit of whimsy to your rooms!”

If you like, you can read the entire press release.

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Martha Proclaims “New Chapter” for MSLO

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It’s easy to see a shift is underway at MSLO. After declining ad revenues throughout the publishing industry, as advertiser dollars migrate online, MSLO shed the production portions of its publication divisions, while continuing to contribute content development for the popular books and magazines. This is part of the company’s strategy to cut costs at MSLO while expanding its profitable merchandising division, which has been responsible for almost all the company’s profits for several years now.

In this Bloomberg article, Martha is optimistic about her company’s future and her ability to leverage her personal brand to be ambassador of “good things” to homemakers all over the world. Martha has worked hard to earn the public’s trust–so there’s little doubt she’ll succeed.

She also provides very good advice on gift giving for executives, including this one: “What they want is a beautiful piece of jewelry, a handbag — something you’ve thought through. That’s something you don’t mess up.”

Lastly, doesn’t Martha look buoyant and fabulous in the photo? Happy New Year, Martha!

You can read the entire Bloomberg article here.

This is excerpted from the article, as is the photo shown above:

Now I’m more devoted to making things really, really good than making things monetarily successful. If you make them good, the success comes. My company is a case in point. This company has to grow now. It has to. It has every single quality of a really good company and now all I have to do is help make that happen.

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Martha vs. Macy’s: Judge Schedules Sept. 25 Hearing on Report Penney’s Will Drop Contested Items

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The judge in the Martha vs. Macy’s trial has scheduled a hearing for September 25, though he did not give a reason for the hearing. According to the Dallas Business Journal, the hearing is in response to the NY Post article that claimed JC Penney was dropping its plan to carry Martha Stewart-designed items–branded “jcp everyday”–in its stores. Obviously, if JC Penney voluntarily quits carrying the contested products, the lawsuit is ended in Macy’s favor.

After the original article ran in the NY Post, a spokesperson for MSLO stated “J.C. Penney remains one of our many retail partners. Our agreement with them is in force, and we have no intention of ending it,” indicating they would not be receptive to an early termination of the agreement. Unless there is specific language in the contract that allows JC Penney to do so, it is expected that MSLO may itself sue JC Penney for breach of contract.

From the Dallas Business Journal:

Oing oversaw the lengthy non-jury trial on a claim by Macy’s that Penney’s 2011 deal with Stewart violated her 2006 agreement with the Cincinnati-based retailer. Oing’s decision in the suit is expected soon. A source told Bloomberg that Oing intends to ask Penney’s lawyers if the story is true because it could affect his ruling on the contract.

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Martha vs. Macy’s Trial to Resume Monday

Martha in Court

If you have been following the trial, you likely remember that the judge in the case ordered the parties into mediation while the trial was in recess, in the hope that they could resolve the dispute without a ruling from the court. No such settlement emerged, and so the trial will resume again next Monday. Much is on the line, especially for J.C. Penney and MSLO, as both companies have lately had disappointing financials. Macy’s, seen as the likely beneficiary of a court ruling, has essentially no reason to negotiate or settle with the other parties.

From MarketsPress website:

The three parties Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia were sent into mediation by the officiating Judge Jeffrey Oing. He had hoped to resolve the dispute mutually during the time the non-jury trial was in a recess owing to the conflicts in the schedule.

However, even on Friday there was no evidence of any deal being stuck and witnesses would be testifying the same in the early part of this week according to a person who knows the case. The person who was not authorized to speak publicly and wished to remain anonymous told that the witnesses might include a few J.C. Penney marketing executives.

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MarthaPantry is Now Online!

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Be sure to visit the MarthaPantry section on the JC Penney website! Loads of super-cool pantry items–salts, oils, heirloom beans, baking mixes. The selection is much broader than I anticipated! FOMs: Let’s start tasting! If you try a MarthaPantry item, post your comments here and I’ll share with others. Yum!

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JC Penney Begins Selling Disputed Goods Designed by Martha

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The new house line of home goods at JC Penney, “JCP Everyday”, is now on sale in stores and online! It is well-known that these products were designed by MSLO employees, although they are not allowed to carry the “Martha Stewart” name, pending resolution of the current court case. Some things I noticed as I viewed the items online:

1. They products definitely bear some of Martha’s signature design elements, the hen-egg blue, the faux bois pattern (one of Martha’s favorites), and the overall elevate taste level are definitely Martha-inspired.

2. Most of the products look nothing like similar items for sale at Macy’s as part of the Martha Stewart Collection. True, the pasty bags at one retailer look like the pasty bags at the other–but that’s because of the design requirements inherent in those particular items. 

3. I’m intrigued by the “JCP Everyday” logo (see cookie cutters image above, bottom row at right). The two overlapping houses do, in fact, make an “M”, don’t they? Macy’s brought this up in the court case, as they sought an injunction to halt the sale of these items, even though they do not carry the “Martha Stewart” name on them. The judge denied Macy’s request, and they have appealed. Further, these items are not allowed to be sold in the Martha Stewart stores-within-stores at JC Penney, nor be placed anywhere nearby, pending the outcome of the current court case–a step taken to minimize harm to Macy’s, should they ultimately prevail in court.

FOMs: What do you think? My own message to Macy’s is this: Calm the heck down, would you? It’s clear Martha and her team have no intention of cannibalizing their own profits generated by sales at Macy’s. That wouldn’t be very smart, would it?

From the Reuters article:

“As of today, those products are on the floor and online,” Paul Rutenis, general merchandise manager of J.C. Penney’s home department, said on Monday in testimony in New York State Supreme Court.

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There was some good news today for Martha in the trial with Macy’s.

First, it may be useful to back up a bit: The case is actually made up of several different claims, including breach of contract, breach of confidentiality, unfair competition, and tortious interference. In some claims, Macy’s has won injunctions, which are essentially temporary smaller rulings in Macy’s favor while the larger issues are resolved permanently in the courtroom. For example, in one injunction, the judge ruled that Martha may NOT sell items in JC Penney stores until the issue of exclusivity has been resolved completely. Macy’s asked the judge to broaden that existing injunction to include items that were designed by MSLO designers but did NOT have Martha’s name on them. These items are instead branded as “jcp Everyday”. Martha insists that these items–$100 million worth of them are already at distribution centers awaiting shipment to JC Penney stores–do NOT violate the exclusivity clause of her contract with Macy’s. Good News: Today, the judge sided with Martha, so these “jcp Everyday” items will begin appearing in JC Penney stores very soon!

However, the judge ruled that the trial would continue on to the next phase. You see, up to this point, Macy’s has been doing all the talking, as they present their case that MSLO violated the exclusivity clause of their contract. Today, the judge took into account all that Macy’s has presented thus far and agreed that may in fact be true. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the trial now shifts to a new phase; one in which MSLO gets to present THEIR side of the story to counter Macy’s claim. Go get ’em, Team Martha!

It is important to note that the judge in this case is still imploring the three parties involved to reach a settlement among themselves, without a judge’s ruling. Contract disputes such as this one are not entirely uncommon, and are often resolved with a financial settlement. In this case, JC Penney and MSLO could buy-out Macy’s contract (or just the exclusivity clause of the contract) although that seems unlikely, given the degree to which Macy’s seems to rely on the Martha Stewart Collection to generate traffic in its stores. By allowing the trial to go forward, and relying on the judge’s ruling, either party risks losing entirely.

Martha vs. Macy’s: Judge Rules JC Penney May Begin Selling Some Items

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MARTHA IS NOW AT JCPENNEY.COM!

Martha at J C Penney

Just launched! Check it out here: Martha at JC Penney

Categories include: Martha Celebrations, Martha Decor, Martha Stewart Crafts, and Martha Stewart Books. Other product offerings are pending outcome of the Martha vs. Macy’s lawsuit. Some resolution on the trial is expected later this month. In the meantime, here is a video of what the MarthaCelebrations store display area will look like: MarthaCelebrations at JC Penney  FOMs: Let’s go shopping!

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Martha Wrap: In a Store Near You!

So excited to find this in the Safeway store near my home: MARTHA WRAP! Martha developed this idea herself: A 2-ply wrap that is foil and parchment. Ingenious, right? There are many ways to use Martha Wrap, and Team Martha has even created a nifty guide that includes ideas and recipes–that you can download here. Of course, I’ve purchased and will post photos of cooking results in an upcoming “Inspired by Martha” posting. If you’ve used Martha Wrap, send me a photo and I’ll post here for others to see. FOMs: Is there anything our beloved Martha cannot do? Answer: NO!

From marthastewart.com:

Martha Stewart now brings her high standards of quality to your grocer’s aisle. First to arrive is Martha Wrap™, aluminum foil and parchment paper in one handy roll. Conceived personally by Martha, this kitchen helper makes roasting, baking, and steaming easy. When you see the Martha Stewart brand, you know it’s a product you can trust.

Find Martha Wrap at these locations:

Safeway

Fresh & Easy

Amazon

via Grocery | MarthaStewart.com.

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