CLEVELAND (AP) -- Hurt by competition from the Internet and cut-rate greeting cards, American Greetings Corp. said Tuesday it will lay off 1,500 employees, or 13 percent of its full-time work force, and close six plants.
The nation's No. 2 greeting card company lost $127.7 million in its fourth quarter and $113.8 million for the fiscal year that ended Feb. 28.
The layoffs are to be completed by next February.
American Greetings did not say which plants would be closed.
The company has more than 11,600 full-time employees worldwide, including about 2,200 at its headquarters in Cleveland. It has thousands more in part-time merchandising and support positions.
The 95-year-old company said its sales have been hurt by people increasingly using the Internet to communicate. The company's own online venture, AmericanGreetings.com, has been a drag on profit.
Market leader Hallmark Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo., has said it has not been hurt by the Internet.
American Greetings is also up against lower-priced competition, including Hallmark's Warm Wishes line of 99-cent cards.
American Greetings shares closed Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange at $13.02, down $1.32, or 9.2 percent. Its stock had been trading at nearly $20 a share as recently as November.
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