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Macy’s launching upscale Martha Stewart line

/ Source: The Associated Press

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. on Thursday said it will design a line of upscale home merchandise for Federated Department Stores Inc., operator of the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s chains, set to roll out next year in Macy’s stores across the country.

The Martha Stewart Collection, which will appear in Macy’s across the country starting in the fall of 2007, will include home items like bed sheets, dishes, cookware, holiday decorations and garden furniture.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The deal with Federated is the latest tie-up with a big retailer for Martha Stewart, who has built a media and publishing company on her reputation as an well-heeled entertaining and lifestyle guru. She also served a five-month prison sentence last year for lying about a stock sale.

Martha Stewart already sells a line of home furnishings in discount retailer Kmart, which is now part of Sears Holdings Holdings Corp. as a result of Kmart’s acquisition of Sears Roebuck & Co.

The new Macy’s collection will not compete with the Kmart line Martha Stewart Everyday, since it will be more expensive and aimed at a more affluent audience, Stewart said.

“Kmart is mass-market, and Macy’s is the largest department store in the country,” she said.

Martha Stewart signed a contract with Kmart in 1997 to sell the Martha Stewart Everyday line in Kmart stores, a deal that both sides have extended until 2009.

Stewart said the Federated deal wouldn’t violate her agreement with Kmart, since the two lines will target different audiences.

A Sears spokesman said that Kmart “looks forward to continuing to work with Martha Stewart and continuing to offer Martha Stewart Everyday” along with other brands.

The deal with Federated will extend for five years starting in 2007, with an option for renewal.

The Federated deal follows an agreement Martha Stewart signed in February to design a line of homes aimed at wealthy buyers with KB Home, one of the nation’s biggest homebuilders.