Martha Dumping Kmart?

Extreme Makeover: Retail Edition

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NEW YORK ( -- Is Martha trying to shake off the mass-market retailer Kmart? Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings, which owns the discount chain, seems to think so. Mr. Lampert said yesterday the diva of style's new deal with Macy's owner Federated starting in fall 2007 raises major questions about the future of their relationship.
Martha may feel her Kmart deal is no longer a good thing.
Martha may feel her Kmart deal is no longer a good thing. Credit: AP

Speaking to reporters at Sears' annual meeting in a Chicago suburb, Mr. Lampert didn't exactly say Ms. Stewart's days at Kmart were numbered but called her contract, which lasts another four years, "not that great," mainly because of fees tied to high minimum sales targets. "We've tried to have a bigger relationship with them, and we haven't been successful," Mr. Lampert told The Chicago Tribune. "Maybe they don't like us anymore.”

"If we thought it was in our best interest to put Martha Stewart in Sears stores, which contractually we have the right to do, we would do it," Mr. Lampert told reporters. "If we put a product into Sears, we don't want to have to pull it out in a year, or two years, or three years. We don't want to do that only to have it yanked away." Mr. Lampert appears to want Martha to sign a much longer contract than she has.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia issued a statement responding to Mr. Lampert's comment.

"We have a contract with Kmart through the end of the decade. We remain committed to working with them to deliver the distinctive products that Kmart customers have come to expect from us," it said.
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