Despite its founder's trials, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Martha Stewart Omnimedia will shell out $6 million in cash to buy Body & Soul magazine -- which was called New Age Journal until 2001 -- and Dr. Weil's Self Healing newsletter. Both publications deal with holistic medicine and healthy eating, topics that well complement recent natural and organic trends.
Regardless of whether you think topics such as the mind-body connection and eating mindfully to foster longevity are balderdash, it's a popular theme with a large (and likely increasing) audience. Just look at the popularity of stores such as Whole Foods Market
Even mainstream grocers are beginning to devote more shelf space to allegedly immune-boosting supplements, for example, or organic goods -- the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said that 73% of conventional grocers carry organic products now. Total sales of natural products have risen 8.1% to $42.8 billion in 2003, according to Natural Foods Merchandiser data.
Trends feed into the push for products in this area. Indeed, when looking at our culture, consider the aging Baby Boomer population as well as the sometimes even desperate measures to retain youth and extend longevity. I think it's a perfectly reasonable segment to branch out into.
Just recently, longtime Fool Rick Munarriz couldn't resist the obvious joke as he questioned the launch of another new publication, rather inexplicably dubbed Martha Stewart Kids. While that move certainly flew in the face of what may be considered a corporate identity crisis, today's announcement does not. These two new publications are independent of the company's beleaguered founder's name.
Soon, Martha herself will have ample time for meditation, and if you hold to the theory of mind-body connection, she'd best keep her spirits high to keep her health intact. But speaking of an optimistic outlook, adding some natural living to the company's portfolio could be a solid step toward tackling the lucrative market of those looking for the fountains of youth and long life.
Do you think this is a brilliant idea or think it's a dead-end street? Do you abhor the idea of the company continually moving further away from the Martha Stewart name? State your case on the Martha Stewart discussion board, only on Fool.com. Or stop by our Organic Living board for tips on the lifestyle.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.