Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the eponymous commercial empire run by America’s fallen style guru, has committed the ultimate breach of good taste by sliding into the red in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Hard hit by the probes (into Stewart’s inopportune sale of ImClone stock) by the SEC and US Attorney’s office, the battering handed to the finesse queen’s squeaky clean reputation impacted on her company, slicing six percent off revenues to $6million (€5.46m; £3.74m) during the quarter.

This in turn brought about surgery on unprofitable activities, resulting in job losses and the restructuring of MSLO’s internet and catalogue sales businesses. Hence a $7.7m restructuring charge during the fourth quarter.

Bemoaned president/coo Sharon Patrick: “Our business continues to be negatively impacted by the ongoing uncertainty related to the investigations into the sale of non-company stock by Martha Stewart. Until this situation is resolved, we will likely continue to face challenges throughout our business.”

Patrick predicts these “challenges” will result in a loss of between 6-8 cents a share in this year’s first quarter, confounding Wall Street’s more optimistic expectations of a 3 cents per share profit.

Martha Stewart, the company’s largest shareholder as well as its chairman/ceo conceded that 2002 had been an “exceptionally difficult year”.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff