JC Penney's emergency plan

Fearing it will be barred from selling Martha Stewart-branded home goods, the retailer is working with Asian suppliers to restock.

By Aimee Picchi Apr 8, 2013 12:38PM

Shoppers at a J.C. Penney store in New York, NY on October 23, 2009 (Mark Lennihan/AP)Call it Plan B for J.C. Penney's (JCP) home goods aisles.

The beleaguered retailer has pieced together an emergency plan for bed linens and other home products, fearing that it will be legally blocked from selling Martha Stewart-branded goods. 

The deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) was the brainchild of Penney CEO Ron Johnson, and so far has led to only headaches, with a lawsuit from rival retailer Macy's (M) claiming that it, too, has a contract with Stewart. 

Penney executives are concerned that it will be barred by a New York judge from selling the Martha Stewart line, potentially leading to empty shelves. Its plan B is to get a pipeline of "emergency goods" from Asian suppliers, which would likely be sold under Penney's old labels, reports The New York Post.

But Penney will still be facing big problems, even with the emergency shams and comforters winging their way to U.S. stores. 

For one, the goods would take an additional 75 days to 90 days to manufacture and deliver, according to The Post. That means the store would face yet another potential delay in its home-goods revival. 

Penney had originally hoped to debut the new Stewart products on March 1, but ended up delaying the new items until Mother's Day, or May 12, as noted by Home Textiles Today.

Also, Penney would take a "massive" loss on the inventory it had already produced with Martha Stewart, according to the Post. 

Penney went back to court Monday to resume the trial over whether Macy's has the exclusive right to sell products with Martha Stewart's name, according to Reuters. The two sides had been ordered by the judge into mediation, but no deal had been struck as of Friday, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Penney is promoting Martha Stewart-designed products on its website, noting that the new products will be available "in stores spring 2013." 

"Welcome to a home you'll love, because only you and Martha could create it," Penney's site notes

That might be amended to add, "and only if a judge allows it."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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Apr 8, 2013 2:20PM
Pennys missed a great opportunity,if they had bought all made in the USA products they would have brought back old customers and gained new ones,their decision to buy it all from asia will be the final nail in their coffin.i would like to take a poll.Thumbs up if you would rather buy made in the USA of products which support american workers or Thumbs down if you would rather buy made in asia products and support asian workers.
Apr 8, 2013 1:09PM
Nobody cares about Martha she's a has been ex jailbird. If Penny's doesn't bring back the quality clothing at a reasonable price that they had in the past they won't be around anymore. Just give us value for our bucks like they used to and they may survive.
Apr 8, 2013 1:58PM
When it comes to running a department store chain, Penney's management team is clueless.  Every decision that has been made has been counter-productive.  From the choice of Ellen DeGeneres as company shill to the elimination of coupons to the sappy brochures; all have contributed to the disintegration of a once proud company.  I might add that the junk now being carried in their mens' department, ill-fitting and of the pooreest quality, is an insult to the memory of a time when J.C. Penney provided quality at a fair price.
Apr 8, 2013 2:19PM
Get rid of this idiot ceo and go back to what got you there. I used to buy almost everything at JC Penney. Now I buy nothing because they have nothing.How long are they going to let this idiot ceo continue? I guess until they're out of business. No worry ,they're almost there.
Apr 8, 2013 2:09PM
Bring back St. Johns Bay and I'll shop there again.
Apr 8, 2013 1:55PM
How in the world is Penny's stock up right now? The brand Martha  Stewart has been played out. I don't know why Pennys thinks it is going to be a plus for them on anything bearing her name.Starting a line of " Made In America" goods might tempt some return shoppers.They need a new CEO before it is too late.
Apr 8, 2013 2:20PM
Get rid of your CEO - hire someone who knows RETAIL!  So many people out there without jobs and JCP is paying a ton for someone to run them into the ground.  America CANNOT afford to lose another company!!!  Sell Made in America goods - work on shorter margins and bring business back to US!!!!
Apr 8, 2013 2:02PM
Does anyone buy anything because its got martha stewarts name and pic on it?.........NO......
Apr 8, 2013 1:41PM

Yea,go ahead and go to Asia or Timbuktu. Penny's is finished.End of story.


Apr 8, 2013 2:15PM
Can't we make a decent compforter with a machine yet? Why do we need to ship it in from china? Why do we have all this technology?
Apr 8, 2013 2:08PM
Apr 8, 2013 1:33PM
Why would penneys take a massive loss? Seems Martha would be accountable as well as the other half of the contract. BTW, what about the M.S. stuff in Home Depot?
Apr 8, 2013 2:02PM
Martha is a convicted felon no company needs that rep.
Apr 8, 2013 2:11PM



What a Hag, the only winner in this deal is the B--ch from Ct., how can Martha's company sign 2(TWO) deals to market her products when one of them is exclusive and somehow Martha's company didn't know of this exclusive deal with Macy's, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm????

Oh well, sure does reek of insider deals afoot to me, Martha Stuart junk sold to Penny/Macy Stuarts company makes a bundle of moola and laughs all the way to the bank, meanwhile back on the farm Penny is scrambling to find other Junk to replace the Stewart Junk so their shelves aren't empty and have a decent selection of Junk to choose from, this is so confusing......

Apr 8, 2013 1:58PM

I can't believe how this company and this stock are being manipulated.

Apr 8, 2013 1:28PM
Penny's has made religious conservatives made. They said they did not care. People turned in their cards. There went many customers. They can not decide what they want. I know people who work there. They say it is totally disorganized.
Apr 8, 2013 2:18PM
I hope the shelves run dry and they have to close the doors for 90 days if not forever. Any company that would paint itself into a corner like that deserves to go under.
Apr 8, 2013 2:27PM

Why shop at J.C. Penny when KFC finally has boneless chicken.

Apr 8, 2013 2:08PM
I haven't shopped JC Penny in years.  It like Sears can go toes up for all i care.
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