Hallmark says goodbye to some greeting card manufacturing operations

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 | 2:42 p.m. CDT; updated 6:24 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Hallmark Cards Inc. said Wednesday it plans to consolidate its greeting card manufacturing operations and will eliminate 335 jobs in the U.S. and Canada over the next nine months.

The nation’s largest greeting card seller, based in Kansas City, said it has immediately ceased greeting card manufacturing operations at its Hallmark Canada facility in Toronto, costing 195 jobs.

The company said it also will begin phasing out greeting card manufacturing at its DaySpring Cards plant in Siloam Springs, Ark., in September, and at its Sunrise Greetings plant in Bloomington, Ind., in January. DaySpring will lose 80 positions by the end of October, while Sunrise will lose 60 positions by the end of March.

Most of the work and equipment is being transferred to Hallmark’s remaining manufacturing plants in Topeka and Lawrence, Kan. But some of the operations are being outsourced to plants in Asia and Mexico, the company said.

Company spokeswoman Julie O’Dell said distribution and other operations at the Toronto, Arkansas and Indiana locations will not be affected and displaced workers will be offered severance and may be able to apply for openings at the Kansas plants.

O’Dell said the decision to consolidate operations was driven more to capture cost savings and not by a dip in market demand for greeting cards.

“It really reflects the production capacity that we’ve been able to gain because of the improvements we’ve been able to implement (at the Kansas plants),” she said.

The privately held company releases very limited financial numbers, but said it recorded double-digit growth in 2007 profits and an 8 percent gain in worldwide revenue to $4.4 billion, largely on the strength of card sales and back-to-school supplies.

O’Dell added that the additional work will not require additional workers at the Lawrence and Topeka plants, which employ 1,520 people combined.

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