Macy's Hitting Below the Belt in Martha Stewart Lawsuit
Feb 03, 2012 - by Lester Brathwaite
Proceedings are under way in the case of Macy's v. Martha Stewart Living and it's already getting ugly with the former bringing up the latter's prison record and referring to rival J.C. Penney as a "less upscale retailer." Meanwhile, sounds like someone got a few high profile diffusion lines and thinks they're ballin' like Barneys all of a sudden.
Macy's is fighting to stave off a deal Martha signed with JC Penney -- allegedly behind their back -- while trying to keep the brand all to themselves. Stewart had sold a 16.6% stake in its company to J.C. Penney back in December to begin selling there in February 2013, directly after the deal with Macy's was set to expire. However, Macy's decided to extend its contract with the brand for another five years on January 23, the same day it also decided to sue Martha and co. Macy's is now seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from going any further in its deal with Penney's, though that deal is still a year away.
MSLOs announcement of its deal with J.C. Penneydevalued the Martha Stewart products that Macys is currently selling, in ways that are not calculable, Macy's claims in its breach of contract suit. MSLO has severely damaged the crucial connection between Macys and Martha Stewart that Macys has devoted years and tens of millions of dollars to developing; it has destroyed the public perception that Macys is the only place a consumer can turn to to purchase Martha Stewart home products in key categories.
The suit also makes reference to that dark, poncho-filled time in Martha's life when she was sent to prison and her company's image and reputation were subsequently tarnished: At the time Macys negotiated and entered into the agreement in 2005 and early 2006, the Martha Stewart brand was under pressure by very public proceedings and their aftermath involving Ms. Stewart."
Well, if Macy's wins this case, things are going to be super awkward at the dinner table and no amount of parsley can garnish away the things said in the heat of battle. [WWD, sub req'd]