Department stores these days are doing everything they can to earn the
business of their customers, and one of the more recognizable figures
in home goods in now at the center of a dispute between two big retailers.
Martha Stewart Living has long had an exclusive
contract with Macy's to sell its wares in their stores. This deal prevented
Martha Stewart Living from selling its items in a competitor store, such
as J.C. Penney. However, that's exactly what the domestic doyenne
and her company now want to do.
It appears that Stewart and her company are trying to get around the language
in the 5-year-old contract with Macy's that prevents its items to
be offered for sale at one of Macy's competitors. The company's
plan is to create specialty stores within J.C. Penney, thus not technically
violating the contract. However, this is not satisfactory to Macy's
and they filed suit last month to stop the deal from going through.
It may be that J.C. Penney knew a suit was likely and found the business
so lucrative that it was willing to cough up money for a settlement in
order to attract Stewart. For her part, Stewart would like to give a bump
to her company, which has suffered in recent years. J.C. Penney would
buy 17 percent of Martha Stewart Living, giving it an up-front infusion of cash.
Businesses in New Jersey that are involved with contract disputes are often
well served by having the services of an experienced business litigation
attorney on their side.
Source: Bloomberg, "
Macy's May Settle Suit, Lose Martha Steward Living Brand to Penney: Retail," Cotten Timberlake and Chris Dolmetsch, Feb. 7, 2012