Sears, Penney Sever Ties With Paula Deen

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The developments are the latest blows dealt to Deen since comments she made in a court deposition became public.

Earlier this week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Home Depot all announced that they plan to stop selling cookware and other items with Deen’s brand.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Novo Nordisk said it and Deen have “mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now.” Deen had been promoting the company’s drug Victoza since last year, when she announced she had Type 2 diabetes

On Monday, pork producer Smithfield Foods dropped her as a spokeswoman.

Caesars Entertainment also announced that Paula Deen’s name is being stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by the company. Caesars said that its decision to rebrand its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind., was a mutual one with Deen.

Last week, the Food Network said that it would not renew her contract.

The stakes are high for Deen, who Forbes magazine ranked as the fourth highest-earning celebrity chef last year, bringing in $17 million. She’s behind Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck, according to Forbes.

Paula Deen Enterprises, which spans from TV shows to cookware and furniture, generates total annual revenue of nearly $100 million, estimates Burt Flickinger III, president of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

But Flickinger estimates she could lose up to 80 percent of her business by next year as suppliers extricate themselves from their agreements.

Not every company Deen does business with has severed ties. Among other stores that sell her products, Kohl’s Corp. declined to comment, while Macy’s Inc. said Thursday that it continues to “monitor the situation.”

Hoffman Media LLC, the publisher of “Cooking with Paula Deen” magazine, announced Friday that it will continue publishing her bi-monthly publication.

“Hoffman Media has worked closely with Ms. Deen since 2005,” said Eric Hoffman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hoffman Media in a statement. “The recent images portrayed by the media do not reflect the person we know on a personal or a professional level.”

(Photo: PRPhotos)

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