Family Christian Stores, the nation’s largest chain of Christian book and merchandise stores, announced it will close its doors after 85 years in business. The announcement on Thursday, Feb. 23, did not specify a timetable for the liquidation, which will affect more than 3,000 employees at more than 240 stores in 36 states. In 2015, Family Christian shed about $127 million worth of debt to its suppliers, creditors and consignment vendors when it went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was sold for about $55 million.
“We had two very difficult years post-bankruptcy,” said company president Chuck Bengochea in a news release, that blamed changing consumer habits and declining sales for the decision. “Despite improvements in product assortment and the store experience, sales continued to decline. In addition, we were not able to get the pricing and terms we needed from our vendors to successfully compete in the market. FULL REPORT