Report: Martha Stewart and J.C. Penney Are Breaking Up

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Martha Stewart Trial
Seth Wenig/APStyle-maven Martha Stewart
J.C. Penney will terminate its controversial partnership with Martha Stewart, according to a report Thursday in the New York Post.

The retailer struck a deal in December 2011 to carry home goods from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), but Macy's cried foul, claiming that it already had an exclusive agreement with Stewart. The three parties have spent more than a year locked in a three-way legal battle that has threatened to pull the home goods off the shelves at J.C. Penney stores.

But now it seems that J.C. Penney (JCP) has made a pre-emptive strike, opting to give up the legal fight with Macy's (M) and stop carrying the items. Source told the Post's James Covert that returning CEO Mike Ullman simply wasn't that enthused with Stewart's line of home goods, and that sales were disappointing.


If so, it's yet another way that Ullman is rolling back the radical changes implemented by predecessor Ron Johnson. The former Apple executive made the Martha Stewart deal one of the centerpieces of his radical makeover of the century-old retailer, but the ugly legal fight became emblematic of the slipshod execution of his vision.

Ullman already nixed key elements of Johnson's apparel strategy by axing style icon Nick Wooster upon arrival, and last month he consolidated power by winning an ugly public fight with activist investor Bill Ackman. On his earnings call last month he called Johnson's overhaul of the home department "disappointing," and now it seems he's taking action to clean up that mess, too.

So if you're in the market for some home goods, we suggest checking out J.C. Penney. In the coming weeks, you're likely to find steep discounts on all Martha Stewart goods as it tries to liquidate its remaining stock.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.


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Psalm 103:1

Both JCP AND MARTHA STEWART are keepers. Not sure what's been going on with the in and out CEO personnel but hopefully they will get their act together. Martha's products are quite varied, whether food products, home goods, crafts, etc. Both can and should survive.

September 06 2013 at 6:28 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
snsndse

JCP is not the style of Martha. I like her line but do not want to have to go to JCP to get it.

September 06 2013 at 4:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
chauncy

JC pennys loss....not marthas.

September 06 2013 at 3:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
clark1937

MY WIFE GOT ME BELTS FROM JCP. ONE COST OVER $25.00 . THE DEAL WAS ,BUY ONE , GET ONE FREE. ALL MADE IN CHINA. NOT MANY ITEMS MADE IN USA AT JCP, IF ANY. THEY LASTED ONLY ABOUT 25 DAYS AND BROKE OR COME APART, SO I TOOK THEM BACK TO THE JCP AND EXCHANGED THEM FOR TWO MORE. WHEN ASK WHY I WAS RETURNING THEM, I WOULD SHOW THEM HOW THEY WERE BROKEN. THIS WENT ON FOR 26 MONTHS. MY WIFE WAS GETTING MAD AT ME FOR DOING THIS. I TOLD JCP TO TELL THEIR BUYER TO FOLLOW THRU AND FIND OUT WHY THIS CHEAP STUFF WAS BEING SOLD AT JCP AS TOP LINE ITEMS. I HAVE NEVER BOUGHT ANY MORE ITEMS AT JCP. THEY CARE LESS ABOUT THEIR PRODUCTS. ONLY GOOD THING , WAS THEIR RETURN POLICY. THEY WANTED TO REFUND THE MONEY, BUT I DID LIKE THE BELTS BECAUSE THEY WERE A WEB TYPE AND AT THE TIME I WAS ON A WEIGHT LOSST PROGRAM AND AS I LOST WEIGHT, DID NOT HAVE TO GET A BELT TO FIT AS THE AREA GOT SMALLER.

September 06 2013 at 1:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kimberly

I haven't shopped at JC Penny's in about 20 years!

September 06 2013 at 1:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
hackitoff2

a smart business move by JCP. why spend a lot of money litigating about a product line that is not selling well in your stores.. save the money for the bankruptcy lawyers and the excessive payouts that will go to the executives if JCP does go bye-bye.

September 06 2013 at 12:58 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
hackitoff2

as to JCP going bye-bye. thats what was said of Best Buy.

September 06 2013 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hackitoff2

JCP needs MSO as much as a snake needs a fork.

September 06 2013 at 12:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dlddross

She may lose out on both Macy's and JCP perhaps WalMart might be interested in her line.

September 06 2013 at 12:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dlddross's comment
hackitoff2

only if the line is made in China

September 06 2013 at 12:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dlddross

From the stock market perspective I heard that JC Penney will probably become extinct by the end of the year, certainly by next June. Their prices are too high for what you get and their inventoory leaves a lot to be desired.........

September 06 2013 at 12:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply