STEWART, MACY'S TIE KNOT WIZ OF WEDDINGS, RETAILER LOCK HANDS TO LURE BRIDES

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Entertainment guru Martha Stewart is setting out to round up brides for Macy's.

In a new multitiered bridal marketing partnership, R.H. Macy & Co. will sponsor a 36-page ad section in the first special weddings issue, due later this year, of Martha Stewart Living.

Ms. Stewart, in turn, will guide content of a series of wedding planning seminars offered at Macy's stores across the nation by the magazine's editors.

But the top lure for brides will be the chance to win a personal consultation with the wedding wizard herself.

"Weddings are changing and so are brides, and Martha Stewart has the latest line on what people are doing about weddings in the 1990s," said Eric Thorkilsen, publisher of Martha Stewart Living since its July 1991 debut.

The marketing partnership also includes joint development of a new database of prospective brides to be shared by the Time Inc. Ventures' title and Macy's, the companies said.

Martha Stewart Living Weddings will be available only on newsstands, starting Dec. 26, for three months,55 targeting non-subscribers of the fast-growing entertainment and style magazine, Mr. Thorkilsen said.

The in-store seminars, and the exclusive drawing for Macy's bridal registrants to win Ms. Stewart's services, will take place next spring.

Time Inc. Ventures settled on weddings as a logical way to draw in a new crop of subscribers for Martha Stewart Living because bridal books are hot-selling newsstand items, Mr. Thorkilsen said.

"Weddings are a hot topic for women of all ages, as people are getting married for the first, second and even the third time at all ages," he said.

In addition, he said, the issue is expected to broaden the overall subscriber base by luring unmarried readers to its predominantly late-30s, mostly married audience.

Since its start as an every-other-monthly nearly three years ago, Martha Stewart Living has been on a roll. The advertiser rate base, 400,000 in July 1992, has expanded to 725,000. The magazine will go monthly in August and is backed by a weekly syndicated TV show that started last September and has been renewed for another season.

Macy's was eager to ally its bridal departments with Ms. Stewart, 52, the author of seven books on entertaining, cooking and gardening, and two tomes on weddings.

The retailer said the divorced former stockbroker's insights about style are sought by women, and Ms. Stewart's wedding tips have made her a leading authority on bridal style and fashions.

Typically for Ms. Stewart, an expert in leveraging her own image, her involvement with Macy's doesn't affect her ongoing role as "lifestyle consultant" to Kmart Corp.

She continues as designer of the company's Martha Stewart Bed & Bath Collections, Kmart said.

To avoid any conflict, Time Inc. Ventures' deal with Ms. Stewart is limited to the Martha Stewart Living brand.

Macy's, as exclusive sponsor of the registry section of the issue, is also creating an advertorial and a response card to help build its bridal database.

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