Home Depot to launch Martha Stewart paint line

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NEW YORK - The Home Depot Inc. will start selling Martha Stewart-branded paint and cleaning products next year in addition to the home decor and closet organization lines announced in September, the nation's largest home improvement retailer said Monday.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.'s deal with Kmart ends in January. Home Depot said it will start selling the Martha Stewart cleaning products in January, with home decor and closet organization lines to follow. The Martha Stewart paint line, which will replace Home Depot's line of Ralph Lauren paint, is set to appear in March.

The paints are being made by AkzoNobel, based in the Netherlands, while Martha Stewart Clean products will be manufactured by the Hain Celestial Group Inc., based in Melville, N.Y.

Home improvement retailers have suffered as consumers postpone renovations during the housing downturn, but paint has performed well because it is relatively inexpensive.

The partnership with Martha Stewart allows Home Depot to expand its offerings of products selling for less than $50, said Morningstar analyst Mike Taggart.

The new paint line's 280 colors can be mixed for use indoors or out and will be available in 8-ounce samples. Twelve colors will be available pre-tinted. The Martha Stewart Clean line will consist of about 10 different cleaning products with Home Depot's "Eco Options" label, which means they meet certain environmental criteria.

Sears Holdings Corp.'s Kmart stores began selling the Martha Stewart Everyday home line in 1997, but in October Sears and Martha Stewart did not extend the contract. Martha Stewart Living has reported that 43 percent of its merchandising revenue in 2008 came from the Kmart line. But the amount had fallen from 2007 as Kmart lowered its royalty payments.

Among other retailers, Macy's Inc. and 1-800-Flowers.com sell Martha Stewart-branded products, such as textiles, kitchenware, housewares and gifts. Martha Stewart Living's agreement with Lowe's Cos. Inc. ended Sept. 1.

Home Depot said other Martha Stewart product lines now in development will follow.

Shares of Home Depot added 13 cents to $28.21 in afternoon trading, while Martha Stewart Living's stock gained 26 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $5.22.


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