TODAY   |  March 06, 2013

Martha Stewart: Testifying ‘is a very difficult thing’

Martha Stewart sits down with TODAY’s Matt Lauer to talk about her testimony in the court battle between Macy’s and J.C. Penney over which store can carry her merchandise, and talks about her relationships with the CEOs of those brands and the future of her company.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> us now. good morning to you.

>> pleasure.

>> i want to start with an image and put that image up of you on the witness stand that people are seeing across the country right now. you know what this does, martha . this conjures up memories of 2004 and your conviction and your time in prison and it damaged your company and your brand and your reputation. are you worried this, no matter whether you're smiling in that picture or not, will do the same thing?

>> well, i certainly hope not. in 2004 , i did not take the stand.

>> right.

>> i was not able to defend myself, but yesterday i was there to defend our company, our contract with macy 's and to defend what i have been trying to do with jcpenney.

>> it's bad timing . you've had a tough year. it's well reported the company had a tough year, reported loss of 56 million, layoff of about 12% of the staff. how does the timing of this case impact your company?

>> well, it's terribly important that we don't lose a case like this. this is a very important case. in fact, we really want to make product. our merchandising business is good. we make beautiful, beautiful product. we design product for our partners. we have partners like the home depot , like petsmart, like macy 's.

>> like macy 's.

>> right. basically their contention is this. they had a deal with you. when you negotiated the deal with jcpenney and announced that deal to terry lundgren the night before the deal was announced to the public.

>> that's generally when you do announce something to --

>> he feels it violated the exclusivity of that contract. did you think it would be good for macy 's when you negotiated the contract with jcpenney?

>> really and truly we thought it would be good for martha stewart omni media for the showcasing of martha product.

>> but did you think it was going to be good for macy 's or did you think it would water down their business?

>> i think our product is so strong at macy 's it will not hurt that at all. we are there for the macy 's consumer. we want to be where the consumer needs and wants us.

>> how do you think you did on the stand?

>> i think i did all right. it's a very difficult thing to sit there for four hours and be asked complicated, convoluted questions. i think i understand most questions and answered them fairly and honestly.

>> i want to go back to that conversation you had with terry lundgren , the ceo of macy 's, the night before the deal with jcpenney was announced. he said that he hung up the phone and hasn't spoken with you since.

>> terry lundgren is the consonant ceo. he is an excellent businessman. he should be able to discuss business in a business-like fashion. hanging up on a woman businessperson, i think, was rude and not right.

>> as the consummate ceo -- i was thinking, if you said to me i'm going to do all my meat segments with you but i'm going to go to --

>> we would have a discussion before, just as i tried to have a discussion with terry lundgren , but -- and my daughter called him during last year. my daughter who really is very worried about this whole situation. he would not speak to her. he would not speak to anybody involved. and that's kind of wrong.

>> so you think this could have been resolved before it ever got to a lawsuit?

>> oh, it should definitely have been resolved. it is a contract dispute. in our contract we are allowed to have a store within a store or a store, martha store. that's what we were planning to do.

>> real quickly to end on what the future could hold, jcpenney had has had a tough time, losses of about $1 billion. do you believe your products in their stores could help turn around that company?

>> as i said yesterday, ron johnson is a visionary. ron johnson worked very hard on all those fantastic apple stores. he also had a lot to do with the great success of target before that. ron is a visionary. he is trying to reimagine the retail landscape. and that's a big job. and he has not been given any time at all to do so. it takes a while to rebuild something like a jcpenney like that.

>> we will follow this story, martha . first of all, thank you for coming in this morning.

>> thank you very much. and then i'm going to come and make meatloaf.

>> from the unusual to the ridiculous, actually. martha stewart , thank