• Cecile Corral

Martha Stewart, Shaw have floors covered

Area rug manufacturer and importer Shaw Industries Inc., based here, forged a multi-year merchandising partnership last week with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO) to create a collection of floor covering products bearing the new Martha Stewart Signature specialty brand label.

Shaw and MSO entered into an agreement through which they will collaboratively design and market floor covering products that Shaw will manufacture and distribute to floor covering retailers nationwide. Likewise, MSO and Bernhardt Furniture Company entered into a similar agreement through which they will collaboratively design and market furniture products that Bernhardt will manufacture and distribute to department stores and furniture retailers nationwide.

The floor covering offerings from Shaw will include area rugs, hardwood flooring, broadloom carpeting, laminates and ceramic tile — all of which are expected to be available at retailers by late 2002. Bernhardt's furniture offerings will include bedroom, dining room and living room collections and are expected to be available at retailers in early 2003.

Martha Stewart Signature (MSS) is a specialty-tier merchandise brand, positioned above the Martha Stewart Everyday (MSE) mass-market brand label, and is differentiated from MSE by price point, ticket sizes and in-store service levels. MSO's partnerships with Shaw and Bernhardt represent a significant expansion for the Martha Stewart Signature brand, which is focused on an integrated approach to decorating. These programs join the Martha Stewart Signature paint palette program already available at 45 Sherwin-Williams stores and are set to rollout nationally to more than 1,500 Sherwin-Williams stores in 2002. The Martha Stewart Signature fabric program — which launched in 1999 as Martha Stewart Home to be rebranded Martha Stewart Signature beginning fall 2002 — will be available through interior designers and fabric retailers, including Calico Corners.

"This expansion of the Martha Stewart Signature brand label represents a significant step toward our goal of providing specialty-tier consumers with the ability to decorate their homes in a thoughtful, comprehensive fashion using our unique approach," said Martha Stewart, chairman and ceo, MSO. "By offering consumers an integrated approach through our Martha Stewart Signature offerings, now including floor coverings and furniture, they will have the tools they need to decorate room by room, floor to ceiling, in a step-by-step program. By combining the quality, reliability and expertise of our new partners — Shaw and Bernhardt — with MSO's design expertise, knowledge and brand, we are significantly expanding the solid growth potential of our merchandising segment."

Added Bob Shaw, chairman and ceo, Shaw Industries: "We feel combining the manufacturing and distribution strengths of Shaw Industries with the creative and branding talents of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is an exciting fit for the flooring industry. The partnership of Shaw and Martha Stewart will be a true benefit for the consumer."

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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