March 22, 2004-- Home Textiles Today,
Stewart resignation revives customer loyalty
Martha Stewart's resignation as a director and officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia seems to have invigorated the Martha Stewart brand, according to research consultancy Brand Keys.
The consultancy said Stewart's consumer loyalty index score rose from 64 to an 86 rating (base 100 points), a level it has not seen since June 2003.
Brand Keys, Inc. has tracked the Martha Stewart brand since 2002 when it was one of the strongest in America, with an index of 120 (baseline 100). Brand Keys' metrics correlate closely with brand equity value and profitability said the consultancy.
"The resignation of Ms. Stewart is a positive step for the brand," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, Inc., "While Ms. Stewart is certainly the creative force behind a category and the company, under the current circumstances distancing herself from the company is virtually the only way for the brand to prosper."
Williams-Sonoma plans brand expansion in 2004
Williams-Sonoma will open two more West Elm stores this year, and has scheduled the launch of its new Williams-Sonoma Home catalog in third quarter. The Hold Everything brand will also make its inaugural run at e-commerce in the fourth quarter, the company announced last week.
The company also plans this year to hit three new financial milestones -- surpassing $3 billion in revenues, exceeding a 9.5% pre-tax operating margin, and delivering the highest diluted EPS in its history.
"In our emerging brands (PBTeen, Hold Everything, West Elm, and Williams-Sonoma Home), we will be intently focused on executing initiatives that will increase brand awareness and enhance customer access to the brands, said Ed Mueller, CEO.