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Martha Stewart Sales Soar

With Namesake Leader Back at the Helm, Retailer Reports Substantial Gains

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, July 31, 2006

New York —With the doyenne of home couture back on the job full time, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia reported substantial improvement in virtually all of its operations during the second quarter, driving sales up a heady 47%, and nearing the break-even point as it slashed its losses by 95%, to just $1.8 million from $34.2 million last year.

Picking up speed with Martha back in the saddle, sales advanced in each of her media operations, climbing by 46.8% to $67.4 million from $46.0 million during the same period last year.

Driving much of the gain was a big advertising pickup in publishing, where sales shot up by 29.0% to $40.9 million from $31.7 million a year ago. The internet business was another winner, more than doubling sales, to $4.6 million from $2.2 million.

But merchandising sales were flat, at $10.2 million, with KB Home helping to offset “modestly lower sales” of Martha Stewart Everyday products at Kmart.

When it comes to making money, all the company's business but one, merchandising, made gains during the quarter, turning a profit and recovering from year-ago losses. Merchandising reported a drop in operating profits of 13.9%, to $5.1 million from $5.9 million last year. But every other business swung to a profit, most notably publishing, with a $6.0 million operating profit reversing a prior-year loss of $3.3 million.

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