NEW YORK — Leonard Marcus, long-time president of Macy’s Merchandising Group, helped negotiate and ultimately signed the department store’s 2006 agreement to make and sell Martha Stewart home goods — but only after he spent months as a self-described “roadblock” to the deal.
“I was very skeptical of the business opportunity,” said Marcus, noting Martha Stewart had recently been released from prison, that her brand had a history with the lower-priced Kmart chain and that he preferred to own brands rather than build them up only to risk losing them.
That last concern was realized, in dramatic form, in 2011 when Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. sold a 16.6 percent stake in its business to J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and inked a deal to set up home goods shops-in-shop with the chain. Macy’s Inc. disputed the agreement in January 2012, beginning the legal battle that ultimately brought Marcus to the witness chair in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday.
“When I heard about [the Martha Stewart deal with Penney’s], I was shocked, I was angered, I was ticked off,” Marcus said. “The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘I cannot believe [it], this is exactly what I was afraid of when we did this contract, that we were going to do a deal and then somehow we’re not going to have the exclusive rights.’ I was flabbergasted.”
Marcus was just the first witness in what’s expected to be hard-fought case with testimony from Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Terry J. Lundgren, Martha Stewart herself and Penney’s ceo Ron Johnson.
One of the key matters to be decided by New York Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Oing during the trial will be if MSLO was within its rights under its contract with Macy’s to set up shops-in-shop at Penney’s.
The Macy’s agreement allows for MSLO to set up its own stores, which the home goods firm contends covers shop-in-shops in Penney’s.
Marcus said the issue of Martha Stewart stores came up near the end of Macy’s negotiations with the brand. He said Martha Stewart’s chairman at the time, Charles Koppelman, said, “Ms. Stewart always had a dream to have a concept store, à la Ralph Lauren.…It was his request that Macy’s has to make merchandise for that store because he knew they couldn’t do it themselves, they have no manufacturing arm... It was, ‘We may at some point decide to do this.’ There was always going to be a Rodeo Drive, a Madison Avenue [store], a big ‘wow’ for Martha Stewart.”
It was a different kind of “wow,” with lots of legal fireworks, that Stewart ultimately made by signing on with Penney’s.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion