American Greetings has been building its sturdy house of cards for more than a century. The #2 US maker of greeting cards (behind Hallmark), the company makes American Greetings, Carlton Cards, and Gibson Greetings brand missives. While greeting cards make up about 75% of sales, the company also produces DesignWare party goods and Plus Mark gift wrap. The company's AG Interactive subsidiary distributes online greeting cards and other interactive media. American Greetings' products are sold through card and stationery stores, mass merchants, and other retail outlets worldwide. The family of chairman Morry Weiss controls about 45% of the company's voting stock.
Wal-Mart and Target together represent about 30% of American Greetings' sales. The company's core business continues to rest on traditional greeting cards and other printed products, a market segment that has largely consolidated around Hallmark and American Greetings. However, technology is rapidly changing the way people communicate and interact, putting the greeting card business into competition with online social networks such as Facebook and photo sharing services such as Flickr (owned by Yahoo!).
In response, the company is focused on developing and acquiring interactive technologies and other new products to expand its offerings. AG Interactive boasts about 4 million subscribers who have unlimited access to its e-cards and ringtones.
At the same time, American Greetings continues to expand its traditional cards business through organic development and acquisitions. The company acquired UK-based specialty greeting card retailer Clinton Cards in 2012. The deal included about 400 stores representing approximately $315 million in annual revenues. Back in 2009 the company acquired Chicago-based Recycled Paper Greetings out of bankruptcy to expand its line of humor cards. – less