Judge rules J.C. Penney ‘interfered’ in Macy’s/Martha Stewart deal; damages pending
New York — In a long-awaited ruling handed down Monday by the New York State Supreme Court, J.C. Penney has been found to have "tortiously" interfered with Macy’s 2006 contract with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia when Penney entered into its own contract with Martha Stewart in 2011.
However, according to Justice Jeffrey K. Oing, Macy’s failed to prove that it is entitled to punitive damages. The 63-page ruling has ordered that both parties move the matter of Macy’s damages and attorney’s fees to a judicial hearing officer or special referee.
Macy’s filed suit against Penney in mid-2012, accusing the retailer of infringing on Macy’s pre-existing exclusive contract with Stewart to sell her branded goods in-store and online. Penney, under the leadership of then-CEO Ron Johnson, acquired a 17% stake in Martha Stewart Living in late 2011 and was leveraging Stewart’s star power to help revive flagging sales at the department store chain.
In January 2012, Macy’s sued Martha Stewart Living for breach of contract, and then filed suit against J.C. Penney in August.
“The uncontested facts underscore how ’over the top’ Mr. Johnson’s and his team’s conduct and relentless efforts were in JCP’s pursuit of MSLO and Ms. Stewart — conduct and efforts that the JCP board endorsed,” Oing wrote in his ruling. “The preponderance of the evidence compels me to find that JCP’s ‘inducement exceeded the minimum level of ethical behavior in the marketplace,’ and as such, was improper.”
J.C. Penney had already made moves to roll back its agreement with Martha Stewart Living and, in October, announced an amended deal that stopped the production of any products that were exclusive to Macy’s. The agreement also shortened the partnership duration, ending it in 2017 instead of 2021.
Responding to today’s ruling, Macy’s issued the following statement: “We are delighted, but certainly not surprised, that the court has found tortious interference by JCP. It is a great shame that Macy’s had to expend time, money, and the diversion of its resources in order to protect its rights. We look forward to the damages phase of the case.”
J.C. Penney said it is considering it is options for appeal.
Former GNC CFO lands at 4moms
Late last week, Retailing Today reported the GNC CFO Mike Nuzzo had resigned his position to accept a role at a private equity-funded consumer products company. Today, 4moms, a special-purpose robotics company that makes high tech baby gear, confirmed that it has appointed Nuzzo as chief administrative officer and EVP of business development.
"4moms is positioned for continued dramatic growth as we develop new products, enter new categories and expand our relationships with retailers," said Rob Daley, CEO of 4moms. "Mike is a proven executive and we’re excited to have him join our team."
Prior to GNC, Nuzzo was at Abercrombie & Fitch, where for nine years he held leading roles in the finance department. He was a key executive for the Abercrombie & Fitch store organization and various corporate business units of the company. Nuzzo received his MBA degree in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kenyon College.
"I have been following 4moms’ trajectory for several years," said Nuzzo. "Not only does the company boast a passionate and devoted customer base, but every department, from engineering to design to sales, is focused on delivering the most advanced products to the market. I’m thrilled to join such a dedicated team of visionaries."
4moms recently acquired larger office space in Pittsburgh, and plans to add nearly 50 new jobs in 2014.
The company’s products, which include the mamaRoo infant seat, origami power-folding stroller, rockaRoo infant swing and breeze playard, are sold in more than 2,000 retail stores in more than 52 countries, including buybuy Baby, Babies "R" Us, Target, Nordstrom and shop4moms.com.
Duck Tape and Fiskars hold scissors sweepstakes on Facebook
Duck brand duct tape has partnered with Fiskars to introduce Fiskars Duck Edition scissors. To mark the launch, Fiskars is hosting a sweepstakes starting today called Imagination on a Roll on its Facebook page.
Sweepstakes participants are encouraged to share their Duck Tape crafting project ideas on Fiskars’ Facebook page for a chance to win 21 rolls of Duck Tape and the new Fiskars Duck Edition scissors, a prize valued at more than $90. The sweepstakes runs through July 14.
Fiskars Duck Edition scissors feature a nonstick blade coating to cut through sticky adhesives without gummy buildup and blades optimized to make perfect cuts every time on a variety of materials including strong, sticky Duck brand duct tapes, according to the company. They are available in 5” for detailed cuts and 8” for longer cuts.
“The Duck Tape crafting phenomenon continues to grow, and, as always, it’s our mission to listen to duct tape users and provide the tools they need to personalize their creations,” said Shelley Price, director of marketing for DIY Tapes at ShurTech Brands, LLC, Duck Tape’s parent company. “Partnering with a tried-and-true brand like Fiskars helps us offer another great way for crafters to complete their projects with style.”
“Both Duck brand duct tape and Fiskars share a commitment to creating innovative products that help people express their creativity,” said Jay Gillespie, Fiskars VP of brand marketing. “This partnership is a perfect fit, and we’re looking forward to giving enthusiasts tools that make creating with Duck Tape easier than ever before.”
The scissors are currently available on Fiskars.com and at JoAnn stores.
Fiskars is a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors and is best known for its orange-handled scissors, which are the company’s registered trademark. The group’s portfolio of international brands includes Fiskars, Iittala and Gerber.