Martha Stewart sued by Macy’s over JCPenney deal

Jennifer Collins Jan 24, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Martha Stewart is in legal trouble again. This time, it’s her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, being sued by Macy’s. The department store says its exclusive agreement to sell a line of Stewart’s merchandise was violated when Stewart announced a deal with JCPenney.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: The home products sold with the Martha Stewart label weren’t available anywhere other than Macy’s.

And that’s what made them valuable, says retail analyst Faith Hope Consolo.

Faith Hope Consolo: They get the attention of the market, the consumer very very quickly.

Retailers from Target to Kohl’s are vying for exclusives with lots of designers and celebrities. Recently JCPenney announced it would launch a line of stores-within-its-stores, selling Martha’s home and lifestyle products.

And Martha Stewart’s company has argued she should be able to sell merch in multiple stores, as other brands like Apple do. In fact, you can buy a Martha Stewart doggie bandana at PetSmart and home office products at Staples.

Vincent Quan is with the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Vincent Quan: She must have thought it through and said: hey we’re going to create exclusive product again for JCPenney, but very distinct and different from the Macy’s product.

But apparently not different enough. Macy’s is seeking injunctions on the deal.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

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