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Are Hallmark Stores Really Closing? Understanding the Hallmark Store Closing Rumors
Over the past year, there have been rumors circulating online claiming that Hallmark is planning to close hundreds of stores nationwide. These rumors stem from fraudulent websites promoting supposed “Hallmark overstock” or clearance sales with incredibly deep discounts of up to 90% off. However, the reality is more nuanced. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the Hallmark store closing rumors, investigate the legitimacy of these “Hallmark overstock” sites, and understand Hallmark’s actual retail strategy going forward.
Hallmark’s Retail Strategy
Hallmark Cards, Inc. is a massive greeting card and gift retailer founded in 1910. While best known for its greeting cards, Hallmark has developed into a multinational corporation with interests in television, animation, and retail stores. On the retail front, Hallmark operates around 900 Hallmark Gold Crown stores across the United States and Canada.
In recent years, Hallmark has had to adapt its retail strategy to changing consumer preferences and increased online competition. Like many other retailers, Hallmark has seen foot traffic steadily decline at its stores as more shopping migrates online. In response, Hallmark has focused on optimizing its store portfolio through strategic closures and renovations.
Some key aspects of Hallmark’s evolving retail strategy include:
- Closing underperforming locations: Hallmark has steadily closed weaker-performing suburban and mall-based stores over the past 5+ years as those types of locations lose relevance. Around 50-60 stores are closed annually on average through this optimization process.
Consolidating in high-traffic areas: At the same time, Hallmark focuses its expansion in high-traffic community locations like downtowns, outdoor shopping centers, and airports. These types of areas continue to draw strong crowds.
Revamping flagship stores: Flagship stores in core markets receive multimillion-dollar face-lifts to serve as community hubs and example stores for the brand. Enhanced experiences and expanded product assortments are highlighted.
Driving traffic through partnerships: Hallmark builds relationships with regional businesses and community events/festivals to generate foot traffic and extend its brand beyond the four walls of stores.
Bolstering the online presence: While stores remain important for certain products, Hallmark continues growing its e-commerce capabilities to better reach customers shopping online. Curbside pickup, same-day delivery, and expanded product catalogs are hallmarks of this strategy.
So in short, Hallmark is right-sizing and optimizing its physical store portfolio while doubling down on community-oriented locations and bolstering omnichannel capabilities. Complete closure of the entire chain has never been announced nor is it in line with the company’s methods.
Analyzing the “Hallmark Overstock” Rumors
The widespread rumors of Hallmark closing “hundreds” of stores came amid the sudden proliferation of websites in 2022 promoting supposed “Hallmark overstock” or clearance sales. These sites claimed Hallmark was liquidating massive amounts of surplus inventory at discounts of 80-90% off through unbranded online stores. However, upon closer inspection, these sites raised major red flags:
- No affiliation with Hallmark: Hallmark has never authorized or partnered with these obscure websites for liquidation sales. They have no legitimate association with the brand.
Anonymous operators: Contact information and operators were hidden behind proxy services, a major warning sign. Legitimate retailers are transparent about their ownership and operations.
Fake sale timeframes: Sites pushed artificial deadlines to create false urgency, a tactic used by many online scams. But Hallmark doesn’t operate liquidation sales in this manner.
Limited/stolen inventory: Products shown were either very limited or in some cases outright stolen Hallmark images and listings copied from other vendors. Real overstock sales feature extensive catalogs.
Poor website quality: Sites were hastily thrown together using pirated templates with grammatical errors, broken functionality, and no trust signals like legitimate companies would have.
When contacted for comment in 2022, Hallmark confirmed it was not affiliated with any such overstock websites or announcing widespread store closures. They stated store optimization was ongoing but closures numbered in the typical 50-60 range annually through their strategic process.
It became clear the “Hallmark overstock” rumors were completely fabricated by scammers seeking to drive traffic to phishing websites through fake flash sales. The real goal was likely data/credit card theft from any customers who placed fraudulent orders. No actual Hallmark merchandise exchanged hands in these schemes.
Additional Signs of Hallmark’s Strength
Beyond addressing the fake “store closings” rumors head-on, other signs point to the underlying strength and stability of Hallmark’s retail operations:
- Financial performance: Despite retail headwinds, Hallmark has consistently delivered stable revenue growth and profits. It’s been earning profits for over 24 consecutive years according to past earnings reports.
Management optimism: In interviews, Hallmark leadership have expressed confidence in the direction of optimizing stores combined with e-commerce growth. Executive changes brought in talent familiar with omnichannel strategies.
New store openings: Even amid optimizations, Hallmark has found opportunities to expand through select new store openings in prime locations. This shows confidence in its brick-and-mortar presence.
Growth areas: Categories like gourmet food, entertaining supplies, and personalized tech services are performing well for Hallmark today. Creative merchandising changes are paying off.
Positive comparable sales: In earnings reports, Hallmark frequently cites positive comparable sales growth when adjusting for store optimization efforts. Customer demand remains healthy.
Robust licensing deals: Lucrative partnerships with Disney, Warner Bros, and other top licensors keep a steady flow of new exclusive products hitting Hallmark stores and website.
So while adjustments continue, Hallmark appears well-positioned both operationally and strategically versus industry challenges. The business model works, and Hallmark is evolving smartly with the times through store treatments and digital evolution. Complete unraveling of the chain seems very unlikely based on current fundamentals.
Resources for Selling Hallmark Collectibles
For collectors and fans looking to sell cherished Hallmark ornaments, collectibles, and other Hallmark products, here are some reliable marketplaces to consider:
- eBay: As the world’s largest online marketplace, eBay features a very active Hallmark community where collectors routinely buy and sell rare/retired Hallmark items. Just be sure to list accurately and transact securely through eBay.
Hallmark Auctions: Hallmark’s official auction site hosts periodic auctions of high-value retired Hallmark collector pieces. Bidding is secure, but auction pacing can mean missing out on deals.
Facebook Groups: Enthusiast Facebook groups like “Hallmark Ornament Collectors Buy Sell Trade” allow collectors to connect locally for private sales. Just use caution and don’t over-share personal details.
Mercari: Similar to eBay in format, Mercari is a top-rated marketplace for Hallmark collectors. Listings have potential for wide exposure, and sellers keep more of their final value through Mercari’s straightforward fee structure.
local Hallmark store: Some stores are willing to consign select exceptional Hallmark pieces worth hundreds to the right serious collectors visiting their shops. Could be a win-win if you find an accommodating location.
While it may not make sense to liquidate an entire collection at once, these dedicated marketplaces provide reliable options for Hallmark collectors to occasionally realize value from cherished pieces and fund new acquisitions over time as well. Patience and accuracy will yield the best sales results.
In conclusion, the annual rumors of Hallmark closing hundreds of stores are completely fabricated by online scammers using deceitful tactics. Hallmark continues judiciously optimizing its retail footprint through strategic closures and new store development, just as many large brands have done in recent years. Overall signs point to the continued health, relevance, and evolution of Hallmark’s multichannel business into the future. For collectors, dedicated secondary marketplaces offer safe solutions for properly realizing value from Hallmark pieces when desired. With care, both Hallmark customers and collectors can feel confident carrying on their traditions for many years to come.