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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Martha Stewart brand bounces back
Martha Stewart
Don't write off Ms Stewart just yet
When US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart was found guilty of lying in March, it was assumed that her once-admired brand would be irrevocably tarnished.

In fact, it seems to be going from strength to strength.

Kmart, the supermarket chain which sells a wide range of Martha Stewart products, has agreed to extend its contract out to 2009.

And the company that markets Martha Stewart furniture said sales had soared since her trial hit the headlines.

Market movements

Both announcements are a relief for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the company created by Ms Stewart as a vehicle for her lifestyle products.

Omnimedia's entire business is based around Ms Stewart, and investors had been thrown into panic by her conviction as part of a share-trading scandal.

Martha Stewart furniture
Trial publicity may have helped boost furniture sales
The Kmart alliance is especially crucial, since the retailer is the main channel for Martha Stewart Everyday products - a range of homewares ranging from barbecue tools to baby blankets.

The range accounted for one-fifth of Omnimedia's $245m (137m) in sales last year.

As part of its agreement with Kmart, Omnimedia also cleared up a bitter dispute over royalties, where each side accused the other of welshing on a 2001 contract.

Home affairs

Meanwhile, Bernhardt Furniture, which also works under the Martha Stewart brand, said business had never been better.

The company said it had been worried that sales would take a hit when Ms Stewart was convicted.

But over the past six weeks, it said sales growth had been in the "double-digits".

Bernhardt is launching a new 62-piece Martha Stewart collection, and has yet another lined up for 2005.

Shares in Omnimedia, where Ms Stewart is a director but no longer in charge, have been more or less steady since her fall from grace.




SEE ALSO:
Martha Stewart makes retrial bid
31 Mar 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart quits firm's board
15 Mar 04  |  Business
Martha's firm eyes bleak future
09 Mar 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart guilty of lying
06 Mar 04  |  Business
Martha Stewart pays price of fame
05 Mar 04  |  Business
Profile: Martha Stewart
05 Mar 04  |  Americas


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