J.C. Penney, Martha Stewart Win Another Round in Battle with Macy's


A New York Supreme Court justice this morning threw out a claim of unfair competition brought by Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) against J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Martha Stewart Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE: MSO). Earlier this week another court ruled that Martha Stewart did not violate its contract with Macy's when it was negotiating a new deal with J.C. Penney.

It now seems likely that the court will not issue a temporary injunction forbidding J.C. Penney to sell Martha Stewart-designed goods that are sold under the store's "Everyday" brand.

The same court yesterday did refuse Martha Stewart's bid to dismiss the Macy's claim. A Reuters report said the judge continued to push the two sides to settle the dispute, saying, "This is a business deal that you should not have courts getting involved in."

Now the Ron Johnson is out as J.C. Penney's CEO, it is worth pondering whether the company will continue with its plans to include boutique shops like Martha Stewart and Michael Davis inside the larger J.C. Penney stores. J.C. Penney already has said it will return to sending out coupons, so it is reasonable to question the other changes that Johnson wanted to bring to the retailer.

J.C. Penney shares are down this morning on reports that the firm has hired Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) to help it raise $1 billion, just about enough to cover the losses the store racked up during Johnson's tenure.

Shares are trading at $14.40, down more than 3% in a 52-week range of $13.55 to $36.89.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Law, Retail, Services Tagged: BX, JCP, M, MSO