Every day is Christmas at CSS Industries, maker of seasonal and everyday decorative products such as gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons, bows, stationery, and cards, as well as floral, craft, and packaging items. The company also makes dye for Easter eggs (Dudley's), and valentines for classroom exchange. Customers include mass-merchandise retailers, warehouse clubs, and drug and food chains, primarily in the US and Canada. ( Wal-Mart and Target account for a combined 36% of sales.) Originally founded as a furniture and department store retailer in 1923, the company shifted gears in the mid-1980s through acquisitions, such as The Paper Magic Group, Berwick Offray, and C.R. Gibson.
About 60% of CSS's sales come from seasonal (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter) products, with Christmas being the largest contributor by far. Unfortunately for the company, seasonal products have been a slow growth market in recent years and price pressure from foreign competitors and its customers direct sourcing from overseas, and higher materials costs have cut into CSS's sales and profits. Indeed, sales fell by 15% between fiscal 2007 (ends March) and fiscal 2010, and the company posted a loss in fiscal 2010. Amid falling sales, the company sold the Halloween portion of its Paper Magic Group (PMG), which includes masks, costumes, make-up and novelties, to Germany's Gemmy Industries in 2012 to focus on more profitable lines of business.
To compensate for declining sales, the firm is looking to higher-growth markets, mainly its all-occasion products, which include stationery, craft, and memory products. Acquisitions are another avenue for growth. Recent purchases include Seastone, a provider of specialty gift card packages and gift card promotional programs under the Give-A-Gift brand to retailers, restaurants, banks, and mall groups, in February 2009. The Seastone purchase was made to enhance CSS's seasonal and everyday product offerings. A few months later it acquired Designer Dispatch Ribbon, a maker of stock and custom ribbons and bows.
The investment firms T. Rowe Price Associates (and affiliated funds) and Royce & Associates own about 15% and 13% of CSS Industries' shares, respectively. – less