The big news in retail today is that JC Penney is dropping the Martha Stewart brand from its offerings. Until this point, JC Penney and Macy’s were tied up in a lawsuit as to who had the exclusive rights to the Martha Stewart brand.
Why this is news? The Martha Stewart brand of merchandise is much less aspirational than it is safe. It’s just not a destination brand. While it might represent a respectable part of sales, I doubt very much it represents much in aspiration beyond safe.
I remember a few years ago when the Martha brand was available at Kmart. She smartly pulled the plug on that debacle. I guess when the ink dried, Martha suddenly realized that a blue light special was not in keeping with her own vision of her brand equity.
JC Penney has so many problems to fix if it wants to be important again and I actually laud the current management for realizing that Martha was not the yellow brick road they once thought it was. If Macy’s really covets Martha’s brand, I think JC Penny has a better chance of finding respectability than I was willing to give it just a week ago.