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Martha Stewart Living Fires Back At Macy's Over Penney Deal

By Karen Talley Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Macy's Inc. (M) has no exclusive right to sell Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO) merchandise, the domestic doyenne's company said in a legal filing Friday. The filing is Martha Stewart Living's response to Macy's seeking to prevent Martha Stewart products from being sold at J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) starting next year. While Martha Stewart Living-designed goods are sold in approximately 600 Macy's stores, they are also available in over 6,000 retail outlets, including Home Depot Inc. (HD) and other large chain distributors, the filing said. "Macy's simply has no exclusive right to Martha Stewart Living's creativity or design concepts, now or in the future," the filing said. Martha Stewart Living is also allowed to sell its products in stores-within-stores, which is what J.C. Penney will set up, the filing said. Additionally, the filing stated, Macy's had no right to renew its contract with Martha Stewart Living beyond January 2013 because it breached its agreement for reasons that include failing to maximize the sale of the products. Macy's, in tandem with filing its complaint seeking a preliminary injunction last week, said it was renewing its contract with Martha Stewart Living until 2018. Martha Stewart Living also claimed that Macy's minimized its products, using them as a way to draw attention to the Macy's home furnishings departments, then promoting its own products that royalties are not paid on. As a result, there is no basis for a permanent or preliminary injunction, the filing stated. In seeking a temporary injunction, Macy's said it has already been damaged by J.C. Penney's selling agreement with Martha Stewart Living and that billions of dollars are at stake if Penney is allowed to sell Martha Stewart-branded merchandise in its stores. Martha Stewart Living "has breached and plans to continue breaching" an exclusive agreement with Macy's in which "billions of dollars of sales are involved," Macy's said in the breach-of-contract suit filed in New York State Supreme Court. Representatives of Martha Stewart Living, Macy's and J.C. Penney declined to comment. The battle lines were drawn in December, when Martha Stewart Living sold 16.6% of the company to J.C. Penney and Penney said it also signed a 10-year contract in which it would create stores-within-stores to sell Martha Stewart Living wares. The sales agreement is to kick in a year from now, which is just when Martha Stewart Living's five-year contract with Macy's was to expire. Macy's has since extended the agreement under a "unilateral right" and, as a result, said its contract with Stewart doesn't expire until 2018. In the lawsuit, Macy's said it has been "irreparably harmed" because Martha Stewart Living is now using the knowledge it gained by selling through Macy's to develop a new marketing plan with Penney. The agreement with Penney has also "devalued" the Martha Stewart products that Macy's is now selling "in ways that are not calculable" because, until now, it was thought that Macy's would be the only place to get certain Martha Stewart products, the suit said. -By Karen Talley, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2196; karen.talley@dowjones.com

Stock News for Jc Penney (JCP)
DateTimeHeadline
07/31/201516:34:07Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
07/29/201509:40:00Technical Scrutiny on Department Stores Stocks -- J. C. Penney...
07/28/201516:33:44Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
07/28/201516:32:49Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
07/21/201517:08:55Current Report Filing (8-k)
07/21/201517:00:26MANDY GINSBERG TO JOIN JCPENNEY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
07/21/201508:30:00JCPENNEY RINGS IN THE SCHOOL YEAR WITH TREND-BENDING STYLES TO...
07/15/201519:26:09Activist Knocks on Macy's Door--3rd Update
07/15/201516:42:29Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
07/14/201519:20:02Can Marvin Ellison Save J.C. Penney?
07/07/201509:45:02Why J.C. Penney Jumped 32% in the First Half of 2015
06/30/201516:36:19Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
06/26/201516:29:58Annual Report of Employee Stock Plans (11-k)
06/23/201512:37:183 Reasons J.C. Penney Company Stock Could Rise
06/18/201509:02:20JCPENNEY PRESIDENT & CEO-DESIGNEE MARVIN ELLISON TO PRESENT AT...
06/18/201509:00:02Stability Will Be Key for New J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison
06/16/201515:10:03The Retail Trick That Has J.C. Penney Company, Inc. in Hot Water
06/15/201516:58:20Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
06/12/201516:21:20Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
06/12/201516:19:36Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)

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