Martha Stewart takes 10% pay cut as company aims for profit

Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart is about to get a slightly less fabulous paycheck, agreeing to cut her annual base salary by $200,000 to $1.8 million.

Stewart, who is chairwoman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., also allowed the company to shrink her annual licensing fee by $300,000 to $1.7 million, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.

The cuts, according to company executives, are “consistent with their plan to return ... to profitability.”

MSLO, which the home goods queen founded in 1997, has struggled recently.

Chief Executive Lisa Gersh stepped down in December to help “further drive the company’s strategy of expanding its merchandising business,” the company said. A permanent successor has yet to be named.


The company suffered a net loss of $3.27 million, or 5 cents a share, for the first quarter ended March 31. MSLO also had a $3.6-million net loss during the same period a year prior.

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Revenue slid to $37.2 million, from $49.8 million during the year-earlier quarter.

Advertising and circulation revenue at the company’s print publications has been sliding; the “Whole Living” magazine was shut down in December.

MSLO’s lineup of live television programming ran dry in mid-2012, when “The Martha Stewart Show” went off the air.

For months, the company has been embroiled in a lawsuit with Macy’s Inc., which accused MSLO of breaking an exclusivity agreement to launch a home-goods line with rival department store chain J.C. Penney Co.

“Overall, we remain focused on taking the right steps to drive more profitable revenue from our strong brands and return the Company to sustainable growth,” Dan Taitz, Gersh’s interim replacement, said in a statement in April.

Stewart’s amended employment arrangement went into effect Monday and will remain in place for four years, the company said. The slimmed-down licensing agreement will run from September 15 until fall 2017.


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