Macy’s Sues Martha Over Penneys

New York based department store Macy’s has filed a lawsuit against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to block a new licensing agreement with their middle America rival JCPenney. Macy’s asserts that the deal violates an exclusive Private Brand agreement with the retailer. As part of the contract, JCPenney would sell a line of Martha Stewart Private Brand home and kitchen items and launch Martha Stewart  mini-stores within its stores in February 2013. The company also purchased a 16.6% stake in Martha Stewart Living for $38.5 million.

Macy’s has carried a line of Martha Stewart home and kitchen products since 2007. Macy’s said it was suing Martha Stewart Living for breaching its contract by creating a deal with JCPenney to sell items covered by the Macy’s agreement. The company said: “The right for Macy’s to sell products exclusively in these categories was clearly outlined.” Macy’s added that it renewed its contract with Martha Stewart Living for another five years, until January 2018. With the announcement of the JCPenney deal, Macy’s said it would review its Martha Stewart product range for “potential changes” in light of “the proliferation of Martha Stewart-branded product in the marketplace”.

All of this comes a short time after Ron Johnson, the former senior vice president of retail at Apple took the helm of the retailer as CEO and later hired former Target colleague Michael Francis, 48, as president.



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.