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As firm struggles, Martha Stewart a gets pay cut

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Martha Stewart is taking a pay cut.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., the empire she built of crafting, wedding planning and cooking, said Wednesday that its eponymous founder had agreed to "certain modifications" to her employment agreement. The company's board of directors said in a regulatory filing that the move was "consistent" with their plan to return the company to profitability.

As of Monday, Stewart's annual base salary was cut to $1.8 million from $2 million. Stewart, who is the company's chief creative officer, also agreed to other changes, including a new expense policy.

The company has struggled in recent quarters, and this year was thrown into an unflattering imbroglio when department store chains Macy's and JCPenney waged a courtroom war over who was licensed to sell Martha Stewart products. In April Omnimedia reported that it lost $3.3 million in the first quarter, and revenue dropped 25 percent.

Stewart has been known for elaborate perks. For example, in a regulatory filing in April, the company said it had paid her a $2 million salary for 2012, plus nearly $3.5 million in "other" compensation, including $127,955 for a driver. It also covered $168,871 for expenses "related to personal fitness, wellness, beauty and wardrobe."

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia rose 7 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $2.41.