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Retail briefs

MSO keeps retail options open

During Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's third quarter conference call last week, president and coo Sharon Patrick turned aside questions concerning MSOs continuing relationship with Kmart, noting that the company's current contract remains in force, but also noting that the firm continues to explore relationships in other retail channels.

Sales of Martha Stewart Everyday products at Kmart, excluding closed stores, decreased 6.9 percent during the third quarter — a figure that outperformed overall comparable stores sales at Kmart, Patrick was quick to note. Fourth quarter sales are currently trending higher and should be helped by the introduction of the 1,000-sku Martha Stewart Holiday Collection, she said.

Executive vp and cfo James Follo noted improved sales in garden products were offset by weakness in soft home during the third quarter at Kmart. However, an increased royalty structure helped boost merchandising sales up 21 percent during the period, he said.

Federated unloads two more Fingerhut assets

Federated moved closer to ridding itself of the remaining assets of its former Fingerhut catalog company with the sale of Arizona Mail Order and Figi's catalog operations to JPMorgan Partners LLC, the private equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase. The two catalog operations, which reach more than 3.7 million customers, will be operated under a new holding company called Crosstown Traders Inc. Arizona Mail Order markets predominantly women's apparel; Figi's markets food and specialty gifts.

The Big Apple floats Target's boat

Target Stores will open a temporary store on a vessel docked here for 17 days during the holiday shopping season. As noted in the store locator on its web site, the Target Holiday Boat Store will dock at Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers from Nov. 15 through Dec. 1.

The floating store will be the trendy discounter's first "entry" into Manhattan, which is home to two Kmart stores. The store will operate from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

Crate & Barrel comes to Manhattan, again

Crate & Barrel is gearing up to open its second Manhattan location on Nov. 14, housed in the historic Cable Building at the corner of Broadway and Houston St.

At 41,300 square feet, the store is larger than a typical Crate & Barrel store, said Bette Kahn, spokeswoman, but it's not as large as the company's Madison Avenue store uptown. The two-level location also has a distinct SoHo feel, she said, with large windows letting in natural light on both floors. "It's the same product but in an entirely different environment."

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