Feb 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

The death of paper greeting cards

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Americans aren't really buying each other cards anymore.

The big picture: "U.S. sales of printed greeting cards, estimated at $4.5 billion in 2019, fell nearly 13% over the last five years, according to market research company IBISWorld," WSJ reports.

  • That trend is hitting Hallmark — and its nearly 2,000 U.S. stores — hard, per the Retail Brew newsletter.
  • The 110-year-old company is responding to the sales decline by pushing personalized cards on a redesigned app, opening smaller stores in places like hospitals and shaking up leadership, Retail Brew notes.

The bottom line: Young people are increasingly using social media or text messaging to reach their friends on holidays. Those 7-frame Instagram story birthday tributes may soon be the end of greeting cards.

Go deeper: New York City fights the cashless future

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Starbucks, Apple shutter stores in China amid coronavirus crisis

Photo: An Apple employee wears a protective mask in an Apple Store showroom on Feb. 1 in Beijing, China. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Starbucks, Apple and McDonalds are among the American companies temporarily shuttering stores throughout China as the coronavirus affects thousands within the country.

The state of play: Apple announced Saturday that it is closing all 42 retail stores in China, as well as corporate offices and contact centers through Feb. 9, the Financial Times reports. The company said it hopes to reopen stores "as soon as possible."

Go deeperArrowFeb 1, 2020 - Health

U.S. household debt tops $14 trillion for first time

Illustration: Sara Grillo

Household debt increased by more than $600 billion last year, topping $14 trillion for the first time and marking the largest one-year jump since 2007, new data from the New York Fed show.

Why now? The growth was driven mainly by a large increase in mortgage debt balances, which rose by $433 billion.

Why Amazon's bigger Go grocery stores matter

An Amazon Go store in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

With the opening of its first large-format cashier-less grocery store in Seattle on Tuesday, Amazon is on its way to further expanding its physical footprint across U.S. cities.

The big picture: Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods was never the end of its grocery ambitions — or its fight to win a bigger share of the whopping $700 billion per year American grocery industry. With its own network of stores, Amazon could attract shoppers looking for cheaper prices than Whole Foods and dramatically grow its brick-and-mortar reach.