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Martha Stewart Looks Abroad

Cecile Corral, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, August 11, 2008

With its merchandising segment posting a "proud" 56% revenue gain year-over-year in the second quarter, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said it is set to expand internationally.

"Now more than ever we're close to beginning to build an international footprint, so stay tuned," said Robin Marino, president of merchandising and co-ceo, during the company's recent earnings call.

MSLO has already started its global initiative, which includes "all our business segments," said Charles Koppelman, executive chairman of the board. The company has rolled out international editions of its Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food publications and has TV broadcasts in 71 countries.

"International is about our future," he said. "Merchandising products will follow closely behind. Right now, it's a small part of our revenue and a small part of our EBITDA."

Referring to recently commissioned research, Koppelman said, "We found the brand in fantastic and powerful shape and on a solid platform from which to continue to grow the business. Almost 70 million women want to buy Martha Stewart products and want them available everywhere they shop."

In the quarter, merchandising division revenues of $16.2 million fueled adjusted EBITDA of $8.8 million, more than double the year-ago mark.

Marino said this increase was driven by "strong product sales at Macy's and the expansion of our crafts line into Wal-Mart as well as contributions from Emeril and 1-800-Flowers.com. The Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's witnessed strong sales during the quarter and remains the No. 1 brand on Macy's bridal registry."

This September will mark the Collection's first anniversary at Macy's — but still no specific financials on its performance have been released.

The highlights of the line are the textiles products, she said, including towels and bedding, which "remain very popular with customers." Luxury bedding continues to expand and core programs such as kitchen gadgets are performing strongly, Marino continued.

Total company sales rose 5% to $77.1 million; MSLO eked out a net profit of $328,000, compared to the year-ago net loss of $6.7 million.

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