Martha spins: In reporting quarterly numbers (down), Martha Stewart Omnimedia provides some “official” state-of-the-company information. Whistling past the graveyard or honest assessment? You decide:
“Since the March 5th verdict, we have been performing a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of our business. The results of our analysis have been very much as we predicted. Our consumers remain stalwart. Our research shows that magazine subscribers, in particular, were unfazed by the verdict immediately afterwards and remain so roughly six weeks later. These results also demonstrate how much our subscribers value the key attributes associated with the name ‘Martha Stewart’ and how much progress we have made in evolving the brand from expert personality to trusted brand attributes and brand labels.
“Based on our research findings, MSO has determined to accelerate this evolution. The first steps in this process are editorial changes that, with Martha’s support and involvement, will be underway beginning in the June issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Beginning with the September issue, while retaining the name Martha Stewart, which connotes brand attributes of quality expert information and a unique sense of style, we will place greater emphasis on the name ‘Living’ as the brand label.
“There will be additional evolutionary changes down the road as part of the process – as always, rooted in our continuing research and focused on maintaining our loyal audiences, providing the best support for our dedicated retail partners, and meeting the needs of our advertisers.
“In addition, we are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Kmart reaffirming our mass market partnership. With Kmart sales of Martha Stewart Everyday products up 6.5% since the verdict in March, we are looking forward to working with Kmart to raise the bar in new product categories. In our television segment, we are evaluating future strategic actions beyond the current season.
“Overall, we are gratified by the support we continue to receive from our consumers, partners, and employees. As we have said, with an adverse outcome in Martha’s personal legal situation, it will take longer for advertisers to return to our print publications, but we continue to manage the company for the long term. Our prudent use of our significant financial resources will enable us to make those investments necessary to build our premier ‘how-to’ brands, emphasizing the distinctive attributes that will attract customers, partners, and advertisers alike.”