KANSAS CITY, MO. — Hallmark Cards will reduce its global workforce by some 400 people — most of them in Kansas City — as it undergoes a wider “transformation,” executives announced Monday.
The company will eliminate 325 positions in Kansas City, Missouri, officials said. Hallmark will offer buyouts and lay off workers to reduce its workforce by a total of 400. Affected employees will receive severance pay and transition assistance.
In a statement, Hallmark President and CEO Mike Perry said the company must continually evolve and transform to respond to rapidly changing retail dynamics and customer preferences.
“The way people shop and the competitive dynamics in the marketplace are changing at a pace and at a degree that is having a significant impact on our businesses,” Perry said. “As we open 2020, we have a clear line of sight to the transformational work that needs to be accomplished and these efforts will lead us on a path that will enable us to realize the longer-term vision and mission we have for our business.”
Hallmark officials said the privately held company employs about 30,000 people around the world. That includes about 3,400 employees at headquarters in Kansas City’s Crown Center.
Aside from its well known greeting card business, Hallmark owns the Crayola brand of art supplies, cable television’s Hallmark Channel and the real estate development company that oversees the 85-acre Crown Center complex in Kansas City. It also boasts more than 2,000 company and independently owned Hallmark Gold Crown stores, which sell cards, gift wrap, holiday ornaments and home decor.
In a news release announcing the changes, Hallmark said the company enjoyed positive performance in 2019. Retail stores experienced positive comparable stores growth. Crown Media saw revenue growth in both traditional cable and its streaming service. And Crayola saw “solid revenue gains,” the news release said.
In June, Hallmark’s board named Perry, a 30-year veteran of the company, as its new chief executive, marking only the second time the company has been led by someone outside the founding Hall family. As part of that transition, brothers Don and Dave Hall stepped aside from their respective roles as CEO and president of Hallmark Cards Inc. Don Hall became Hallmark’s executive chairman and Dave Hall became executive vice chairman.
Members of the Hall family have been involved in leading the company since its inception in 1910.
But like other businesses, Hallmark faces new challenges: As online shopping earns more share of customer spending, the “retail apocalypse” has left thousands of shuttered storefronts across the nation. In an April report, investment bank UBS predicted 75,000 more stores — including clothing, grocery and home furnishing stores — would close by 2026.
In its news release, Hallmark referenced that changing landscape. Perry said the company would continue to transform the way it works and brings products to customers.
“These changes, while not easy, will enable us to invest in new growth strategies that will ultimately help us realize our future vision. The products and content we create make a positive difference in the world,” he said. “To be able to help others, and to build an enduring business, we must change.”