Will Martha Stewart's pricey taste hurt JC Penney?
The domestic diva is reportedly insisting on high-end materials for her line of home products, raising profit concerns for the struggling retailer.
Martha Stewart is known for her high-end tastes, blogging to her fans about the pleasures of "thick and fluffy Turkish towels" and "finely ironed linens."
At issue is a deal Penney struck with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) to sell household products branded with Stewart's name, as part of the retailer's strategy to lure new shoppers.
Stewart is insisting that her products for J.C. Penney incorporate high-end materials -- such as top-quality fabrics and packaging components -- leading to concerns among its executives that the retailer will lose money on the goods, the Post notes.
Despite those fears, J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson is backing Stewart, according to the report. As a result, the new products' costs have jumped as much as 30% above their replacements.
The report comes at a delicate time for Penney: A lawsuit brought by Macy's (M) against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia over its deal with J.C. Penney is set to go to trial on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
At J.C. Penney, Stewart's name will appear on rugs, window coverings, as well as Martha Stewart Pantry, a line of food mixes, and Martha Stewart Celebration, which are paper party products, according to The Dallas Morning News. The retailer will also sell a private label called Everyday, ranging from linens to furniture, that will be designed by Stewart's company.
While Penney originally hoped to sell Stewart's products on March 1, that's been delayed until Mother's Day, or May 12, Home Textiles Today notes.
According to the Post, Stewart insisted her cutlery include high-grade stainless steel, and demanded that the glassware come from Europe instead of China. J.C. Penney's won one battle, when executives vetoed fabric from a supplier to Frette, whose Egyptian cotton bedsheet sets can cost over $1,000.
With most U.S. consumers struggling with smaller paychecks as higher payroll taxes took effect in January, the big question for J.C. Penney is whether its customers will pay up for Martha Stewart quality.
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In our economy-driven world, we will "pay up" for Martha's goods when they go to the sale, mark-down or clearance table -- Sorry, if one can't see what's down this pike, they need another job!
You think she would have learned to scale down while she was in prison!
I stopped buying from JCP almost 10 years ago. The quality of their clothing and their home furnishings (sheets, towels, table cloths) is so awful that there is nothing they have that I will buy.
JCPenney (and Sears) was always known for their quality merchandise at reasonable prices. You didn't have to spend $200 to get a decent set of sheets. I loved their percale sheet sets and would buy at least 3 sets a year for myself and a couple for gifts. Now everything is inexpensive, but it is cheaply made and it shows. Their high thread count sheets do nothing but wrinkle and are not logical for a family with kids.
I would be grateful for Martha's stuff. It has to be better than what they have now. It distresses me that Target & Kmart have better quality clothing than JCPenney.
I try to avoid buying anything, especially cookware, with some famous person's name on it, especially when it is a wealthy known crook. It's usually expensive, over priced crap.
Get rid of Martha.....because of her, there aren't choices. Why does everything we buy have to have her name on it? It just pushes up the prices.....I say get rid of ALL these stupid celebrities having their names on everything.
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