Say it ain't so, Martha? After 11 years, Martha Stewart Living will be going on a hiatus in the fall, as its crafty namesake star takes a break from the syndicated television show to face the judicial music.
For parent company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Earlier this month, the company posted a first-quarter loss as revenues fell by 23%. While it managed to grow its merchandising business through Kmart
Thankfully, buying in early has its benefits. Despite all of the turmoil, the shares are still up better than 52% since David Gardner recommended the company to Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers back in Nov. 2002.
Yes, not everyone likes Martha. But Omnimedia is about more than Martha these days. Its latest batch of content has focused on everything from pet rearing to cooking that doesn't rely on Martha's name or Martha's presence. So whether she is draping with pinstripes later this year -- or donning them -- the company is not about to close shop.
The troubling aspect here is that the company is losing money. You don't have to make the argument that Martha commanding less screen time later this year will result in a waning of popularity. Things are bad already. And if this latest move of downsizing the company is perceived as a publicity stunt to gain pity before next month's sentencing to spare Martha some serious jail time, there will be even more pain to pay in turnaround time.
The argument that Omnimedia cannot only survive -- but thrive -- without Martha isn't far-fetched. The company has all the right connections in print, television, and merchandising. It toils in the juicy demographics that any willing sponsor covets. But it better learn to be more proactive than reactive and start building a better tomorrow today.
Taking Shawshank Redemption's signature phrase to heart, Omnimedia better "Get busy Living, or get busy dying."
Can you out Martha Martha? Do you have a knack for decorating your home? Are you glued to Trading Spaces and wonder how you could do a better job? All this and more -- in the Crafty Fools discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that plaid curtains with pastel polka-dots can be cool. Oh, brother! He does not own shares in any company mentioned in this story.