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  • Jennifer Marks

Thar She Goes…

Whether because of bruised feelings or merchandising priorities, Macy’s isn’t touting the Stewart brand the way it used to

One is the loneliest numberOne is the loneliest number. Martha space has been pared way back.
The lawsuit that most people thought was already over — the one where Macy’s claimed JCPenney stomped on its turf when it signed Martha Stewart to be the cornerstone of its transformed home department — finally ended with a court ruling last month. Advantage to Macy’s there.

Amid the tussle, the Stewart brand lost out on the opportunity to dominate JCPenney’s home assortment in the way it once did Kmart’s. The wrangling also resulted in a diminution of Martha Stewart Collection on Macy’s floor. Given the My Macy’s localized merchandising strategy, the extent to which the brand has lost square footage — and in which department — varies by location.

Master bedroomMaster bedroom stalwart Croscill sitting pretty on the drive aisle

At the JCPenney anchor store at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, N.J., Stewart still owns a tidy and prominent chunk of real estate in the housewares department. This, one thinks, is probably the kind of thing Penney’s ex-ceo Ron Johnson envisioned when he signed Stewart in 2011. Over in the bedding department, however, it’s a whole different story.

Macy’s private label Hotel label has the biggest footprint, natch. The runners-up, however, are not other house brands but national brands: Croscill and J.Queen New York, each sitting on the main aisle on opposite sides of handsome wood merchandiser — which is occupied on one end by Tommy Hilfiger Home. The Martha brand gets a single bed.

Conventional wisdom in the home furnishings world has it that Macy’s is unlikely to renew its contract with Stewart when it expires in 2017. A number of suppliers have been banging on Macy’s door to offer alternatives, even though those conversations are said to be occurring sotte voce.

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