American Greetings Hands Pink Slips to 1,500 Employees

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American Greetings Corp., the nation's No. 2 greeting-card maker, will shrink its product lines, close six plants and slash 1,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its full-time employee base, after reporting a $127.7 million fourth-quarter loss yesterday.

The Cleveland company posted the loss after recording the write-down of its $33 million investment in Egreetings Network Inc., an Internet greetings service, and a one-time tax reserve of $176 million.

Rising competition from the Internet and lower-priced cards from competitors such as Hallmark Cards Inc. have forced the company to lower its fiscal 2002 earnings to between $1.10 and $1.20 a share before nonrecurring charges.

"Anticipated changes in certain contractual relationships with strategic partners related to the corporation's Internet business will result in an unexpected pre-tax, non-cash charge of about $18 million," the company said in a statement.

"The company expects these forthcoming contractual changes, coupled with recent acquisitions and organic growth that have made one of the top 15 most-visited Web sites in the world, to ensure that the online business reaches profitability during the fourth calendar quarter of 2001," the statement said.


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