Martha Stewart Omnimedia details plans for growth in 2002

New York — Closing the books on a record-breaking year, Martha Stewart Omnimedia will drive merchandise sales in 2002 with the launch of a new specialty-tier brand, a more rigorously defined and sharply priced assortment in its up-market Martha By Mail segment, and the expansion of the mass market Martha Stewart Everyday (MSE) brand in the United States and abroad, executives said during a conference call yesterday.

Despite the economic downtown and Kmart's woes, the company managed to boost total merchandise sales by 46.1 percent to $35.6 million, with merchandise EBITDA rising 26.2 percent to $30.5 million. Sales of the MSE mass market brand rose 26 percent to $1.6 billion.

These gains were largely propelled by the launch of storage and decorating product lines under the MSE brand at the mass market, as well as a new venture in Japan launched mid-year, said chairman and ceo Martha Stewart.

In Japan, "bedding is currently our largest category, followed by decorating products and bath accessories," Stewart said. "We're looking forward to growing this business in 2002, and sales are meeting our initial expectations."

Total company revenues for the year posted a 3.5 percent gain to $295.6 million. Total net income was $21.9 million, up 3.0 percent.

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