Hallmark Halting Flowers and Gifts Direct Business

Hallmark Flowers, a subsidiary of Kansas City, MO-based Hallmark Cards, plans to shut down its direct-to-consumer flowers and gifts business by the end of April.

Launched nationally in 2001, Hallmark Flowers mailed its first catalog in 2005. The decision to fold the unit came after an analysis of the current business, the competitive marketplace, and a review of other potential business models. In its analysis, company officials determined “investments required to keep the business operational and competitive could not guarantee the financial results the company expects from its operating businesses,” according to a release.

Hallmark.com will continue sell premium e-cards, paper cards, print-on-demand cards, digital greetings, and stationery products; the site also offers free e-cards, company details, and information about products and services available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

Nearly 100 employees will be affected by the decision, including about 35 in the Southaven, MS-based facility for distribution operations. Since Hallmark Flowers is a privately held company, spokeswoman Julie O’Dell declined to offer sales figures for the direct business. “I don’t think our statement suggests the business was unprofitable,” she says. “I can say that we didn’t believe that, in the future, we would realize the return on investment that we expect from our operating businesses.”

An April 2006 article published in MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT reported that the Hallmark Flowers holiday catalog boosted December 2005 sales figures nearly 50%. At the time Jay Waddell, marketing manager for Hallmark Flowers, said the company mailed between 500,000 and 1 million copies of the 20-page Hallmark Flowers & Gifts holiday catalog.

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