Greeting card companies struggle to compete in a digital world

Social media among threats to greeting card makers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Fewer people are sending paper greeting cards, a worrisome challenge for the nation's top card company.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark Cards Inc. announced last week it's closing a Kansas plant that produced a third of its signature product. Hallmark is shedding about 300 jobs as it shifts work to two other plants.

Hallmark and companies like it are dealing with a cultural shift in which consumers are increasingly choosing cheaper and quicker ways to communicate.

Hallmark says that over the past decade, the number of greeting cards sold in the U.S. has dropped from 6 billion to 5 billion. An industry trade group puts the figure at 7 billion.

Hallmark executive Pete Burney says competition in the industry is "formidable" and that consumers have more ways to connect digitally.

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