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Stewart's Omnimedia seeing red

NEW YORK — With ad revenue drying up in Martha Stewart's various magazines, and her television show on hold in the wake of her ongoing legal woes, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. today reported a second quarter loss of $16.6 million, compared with a prior-year profit of $3.7 million.

Consolidated sales dropped by a third, to $44 million from $65.8 million last year. As advertisers and broadcasters walked away, publishing revenues plunged 50.1 percent, to $23.7 million from $39.6 million, and television revenues nose-dived 53.6 percent, to $3.1 million from $6.6 million.

By comparison, merchandising revenues, including royalties from Kmart, held relatively steady, slipping 7.3 percent, to $10.9 million from $11.8 million, reflecting, the company said, a weak retail environment and the "continuing impact from Kmart store closings that took place in the early part of 2003." The company emphasized, "The decline in royalty revenue from sales at Kmart in the quarter will not impact full-year results from operations, as we are paid based on guaranteed annual amounts."

Sales from Stewart's Internet and direct-commerce business tumbled 18.5 percent, to $6.4 million from $7.8 million, largely due to lower catalog sales stemming from lower circulation.

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