As the #1 producer of warm fuzzies, Hallmark Cards is the Goliath of greeting cards. The company's cards are sold under brand names Hallmark, Shoebox, and Ambassador and can be found in more than 30,000 US retail stores. (About 2,200 stores bear the Hallmark Gold Crown name; the majority of these stores are independently owned.) Hallmark also offers electronic greeting cards, gifts, and flowers through its website. In addition to greeting cards, the company owns crayon manufacturer Crayola (formerly Binney & Smith), about 90% of cable broadcaster Crown Media, and Kansas City's Crown Center real estate development firm. Members of the founding Hall family own two-thirds of Hallmark.
Hallmark Business Connections is a unit that targets businesses with products such as incentives, greeting cards, and gifts for employees and customers. The Hallmark brand can also be found on television through a licensing agreement with Crown Media, which operates cable's Hallmark Channel. Hallmark-branded programming includes Hallmark Hall of Fame original movies, a concept that debuted in 1951 during the era of fully-sponsored TV programming.
Other Hallmark subsidiaries include DaySpring Cards (Christian greeting cards and gifts), Hallmark Baby (online children's wear), Halls LLC (operates the Halls on Grand department store in Kansas City), and Feeln (film production and streaming video service).
Hallmark publishes products in more than 30 languages. It distributes products in 100 countries across the globe. Outside the US, subsidiaries are located in Australia, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK.
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The company announced a strategic alliance with Shutterfly to feature its customizable cards on Shutterfly's website. Hallmark made the deal to enhance its brand presence in the growing personalized greetings category.
In fiscal 2014 Hallmark recorded revenues of about $3.8 billion, a 2% decrease from the previous year when the company brought in a little more than $3.9 billion. The company has faced several years of single digit declines.
Cautious consumer spending led to a decline in revenue for the operating units which includes greetings, gift wrap, partyware and gifts. Crayola also posted lower numbers as it's building a theme park in Orlando, Florida.
Publicly traded Crown Media posted an 40% increase in total revenue for fiscal 2014 and Crown Center also delivered higher revenue.
Product development has been key for its traditional card business. Hallmark has adapted to changes in technology by launching updated versions of its paper cards. The company has found success with products such as musical cards (Cards With Sound), cards with custom recorded messages (Recordable Cards With Music), and cards with animated scenes (Cards With Motion). In 2015 it signed a licensing deal with Mattel that will let it release Barbie and Hot Wheels branded cards, ornaments, and merchandise.
Hallmark also gains advertising revenues from TV distribution. In 2012 The Hallmark Channel acquired the sitcom The Middle, adding to its 2011 purchase of Frasier; it made the purchases as part of its strategy to acquire and schedule popular series to compliment its block of comedy programming.
Retail may yet make a comeback for the company. It has been testing a shop-in-shop concept at J.C. Penney stores. Hallmark has also been experimenting with a small boutique-style store where shoppers can design, create, and personalize cards and gifts. These HMK Stores are located in Missouri, Texas, and Colorado.