Monday, November 20, 2017
Business

Penney gets temporary go-ahead to sell some Martha Stewart-designed items

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. can sell some home goods designed by Martha Stewart that were destined for shelves in May — for now, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled Friday.

Rival department store chain Macy's had sought to temporarily block Penney from selling products designed by Martha Stewart under the name JCP Everyday. Macy's argued that the products violate its exclusive contract with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia — even if they don't carry the moniker.

Friday's ruling lets Penney sell the JCP Everyday goods, until a lawsuit that Macy's is waging against Penney and Martha Stewart Living is fully decided. Macy's said in a statement that it plans to appeal the ruling.

Judge Jeffrey Oing also cautioned that the ruling is preliminary and Penney could still face costly damages if Macy's prevails in the case.

"This decision has not been very easy to make," said Oing, who heard arguments from both sides for nearly three hours before he made his ruling.

The two retailers are locked in a court battle over a partnership with Martha Stewart. Macy's, headquartered in Cincinnati, is suing Martha Stewart for breaching a long-standing exclusive contract that it had with the New York merchandising and media company in certain goods like bedding and bath items when it made a deal in late 2011 with Penney to open Martha Stewart mini-shops in the stores. The Martha Stewart shops, which have now been shelved, were planned for this spring. It also sued Penney for having no regard for the contract.

A temporary order made last summer still bars Penney from selling Martha Stewart-branded goods in the exclusive product categories. But Macy's had argued that selling the JCP Everyday goods, which included items covered by the contract, would confuse customers and create harm to Macy's. Macy's attorneys also argued that the new JCP Everyday brand, which carries a double house logo that resembles the letter "M," would give shoppers the idea that the merchandise was from Martha Stewart.

Oing said Friday that Macy's didn't prove irreparable harm. Macy's may face some financial pressure but "it's not like a building torn down," he said.

However, he warned Penney lawyers to stay away from using the Martha Stewart name in advertising or marketing when it comes to the products covered by the contract.

"You are to stay away from the Martha Stewart brand and label at all costs," he warned.

Penney could face a $100 million hit if it had to liquidate the JCP Everyday inventory that it already purchased, according to Deborah Weinswig, an analyst at Citi Research.

Penney is going ahead and adding Martha Celebrations areas, which will feature party accessories and stationery designed by the home maven. Those items are not covered by Macy's exclusive contract, though Macy's attorneys argued this week that some items like plastic pitchers violate the exclusive contract.

Comments
Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Tampa Electric $18,108 and gave the company two "serious" citations for its response to a gas leak at the Big Bend Power Station in May, the agency announced late Friday.The May 23 incident invo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.To gauge how passengers percei...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Published: 11/19/17
Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

TAMPA — Avery, 6, slid his sneakers up the side of 200-pound rubber tire from the space shuttle Columbia and sat on top.His father, Ilder Jeannot, called for him to get off of it — usually climbing on museum displays is frowned upon. But in the new M...
Published: 11/18/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Like so many small businesses, Saturday will represent a special day for Paper Seahorse owner Tona Bell. Bell’s cozy bungalow business at 211 S Howard features paper and stationery, specialty pens, vintage typewriters and crafts classes. It will offe...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17