The Martha Stewart brand may feel that adding JCP distribution is a big win, but I’m not so sure. Angering its biggest account (Macy’s), who has invested a lot of floor space and ad space behind the brand, will backfire. (Macy’s didn’t hesitate to drop Liz Claiborne, and its volume has hardly suffered for it.) JCP also has a right to be concerned about what happens to the Martha brand cachet over the long run, and whether it helps the store broaden its appeal to a younger consumer.
Beyond the Macy’JCP issue, the retail world is littered with designer and celebrity brands that overextended themselves to too many stores and too many product categories. Pet supplies and office supplies may be a bridge too far.