Good housekeeping: Stewart revs up 30%

Profits increase 7.4% to $25.6 million

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said Tuesday in its first annual financial report as a public company that revenue in 1999 jumped nearly 30% to $232 million.

Earnings eased 10% to $11.7 million on a pro forma basis. Excluding a $14 million income tax adjustment relating to the group’s initial public offering five months ago, profits were up 7.4% to $25.6 million.

As the doyen of domesticity continues to expand her empire, TV revenue rose 31% to $31 million. A second half-hour added to the syndicated daily program “Martha Stewart Living” as well as primetime holiday specials helped that biz.

Publishing segment revenue rose 15% to $145 million as ad pages grew in Martha Stewart Living magazine and the company’s Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine upped publication from two to four times a year.

Revenue in merchandising, the company’s real cash cow, grew to $20 million from $15 million as the company unspooled a new line of garden tools, fabrics and nursery basics.

And in Internet-direct commerce, revenue more than doubled to $36 million from $15 million. However, hefty expenses of more than $50 million, used to grow that division, squeezed the company’s earnings, as did an increase in overall operating costs.

For the fourth quarter, revenue rose 39% to $71 million. Pro forma net income jumped 73% to $2.4 million.

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