JCPenney gets piece of Martha magic

PLANO, Texas and NEW YORK — JCPenney is looking to capture its share of the Martha Stewart brand that has become synonymous with Kmart, by launching a strategic alliance with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to create a unique and comprehensive retail experience featuring Martha Stewart products, know-how and advice.

The partnership goes beyond just featuring Martha Stewart brands. Beginning in February 2013 , customers will be able to visit distinct Martha Stewart retail stores inside the majority of JCPenney department stores, the company said. In addition, these stores will staffed by trained associates that can offer customers advice on how to best use the products.

The agreement also includes the launch of an e-commerce site in 2013 that will offer Martha Stewart expertise and enable consumers to purchase a wide range of home and lifestyle products, including those sold in the Martha Stewart stores inside JCPenney, and other merchandise designed or selected by Martha Stewart. MSLO is expected to receive in excess of $200 million from JCPenney over the initial 10-year contract period.

JCPenney now holds a 16.6% stake in MSLO and will have representation on MSLO's board of directors.

Ron Johnson, CEO of JCPenney, said, "I have long admired Martha Stewart's extraordinary influence on the way American families live and enjoy their lives. For nearly two decades she has been the primary person we turn to for advice regarding food, entertaining, decorating, and celebrating life's memorable moments. The opportunity to work with Martha and create an entirely new shopping experience, both in-store and online, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Martha Stewart brand embodies quality, beauty, inspiration and possibility and we intend for Martha Stewart stores to be a key centerpiece of our new strategy to transform JCPenney into America's favorite store."