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Today J.C. Penney announced it’s buying a 16.6%, or $38.5 million, stake in Martha Stewart Living.The companies signed a 10-year contract, which involves a new, combined e-commerce site and Martha Stewart retail shops in the J.C. Penney stores beginning in 2013 (via Wall Street Journal).
It’s the first major move by Ron Johnson, the former Apple executive and new J.C. Penney CEO. His overall turnaround strategy will involve adding more brand names — something he did while at Target — and streamlining supply chain operations.
He’s already brought on former colleagues from Apple and Target, which means he’s planning to make some high-level structural changes to the brand. He’s also planning to bring his own version of the Apple Genius Bar — a concept he created as the SVP of retail for Apple — to J.C. Penney, by having trained employees who can offer advice and tips, reports Dealbook.
The Martha Stewart move is also significant because during last month’s earnings call, J.C. Penney executives spoke about how their “home business is the worst business,” even though it accounts for 50% of its products — and Martha Stewart is one of the nation’s premier “home” brands.
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