Kohl's Corp. has had a rough summer. Same-store sales have been tumbling. Ditto for its stock price. So you would think Kohl's exclusive simultaneous launch of mega-couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's fall clothing line would be exactly what the doctor ordered for the ailing retailer.
Only one problem: Lopez and Anthony are no longer a couple.
The duo called an end to their seven year marriage in July just after Lopez wrapped her successful debut stint as judge on American Idol. By their own accounts, the split was not a particularly happy one.
"Sometimes we don’t realize that we are compromising ourselves," Lopez told Vanity Fair. "To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself—if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me. I love myself enough to walk away from that now.”
Good for Lopez. Bad for Kohl's.
When Kohl's first announced the partnership in November 2010, the deal made all the sense in the world. The immensely attractive Lopez and Anthony, both successful recording artists, were both branching into TV: Lopez with American Idol and Anthony on the TNT series Hawthorne.
In a press release, the company boasted it signed "the first celebrity couple to simultaneously design collections for one retailer."
"We are pleased to announce lifestyle brands with one of the most successful and talented couples in the entertainment business and have every confidence Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony will resonate with our customers," CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement. "The addition of the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony collections further differentiates Kohl's with exclusive, world-class partnerships and positions us to continue to gain market share."
In hindsight, there's probably a good reason why family members should keep their business and personal affairs separate. Of course, there was no way for Kohl's to predict the marriage would eventually dissolve just two months before the brands' launch.
But that's the risk you take inking a deal with a seemingly happy couple that turned out not to be so happy. Kohl's may have gotten a bit greedy. It would've been pretty impressive to sign just Jennifer Lopez or Marc Anthony. But the retailer went for the package deal.
Love-and commerce-are so fleeting.