At the recent Bank of America Consumer Conference, Susan Lyne, President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia gave the first real hints that the relationship with Kmart will likely dissolve at the end of the existing contract in 2010. "Right now we do not believe Kmart is out likely partner going forward..." said Lyne. “However, as of January 2010 we can be in any other mass retailer,” and the company is free to pursue new deals now, she added.
While Susan Lyne did not hint at any current contract discussions, a logical quality choice of retailer would be Target. In discussing desirable conditions for a new mass market partner, “What is important for us is to be with someone who is investing in their business,” she said.
Target, known for it's reasonable prices, quality merchandise, and ever growing number of stores would be a perfect fit for a line of Martha items. From what I see, a Target shopper would more likely be a Martha shopper. It would seem that this would be the best choice of outstanding mass market retailers.
When questioned about the size of another mass market line, Susan Lyne did caution against expecting another Kmart-sized contract, which spans multiple product categories and in its heyday approached $1 billion in annual sales.
Since the company is now free to search out and negotiate other contracts, I would suspect that we would hear an announcement by the years end or the early part of 2009.
Target and Martha? That would make me a very happy guy!