Home > Uncategorized > Family Christian, the Largest Christian Bookstore Chain in the U.S., Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Family Christian, the Largest Christian Bookstore Chain in the U.S., Files for Bankruptcy Protection

This one hurts to report.  While it was reported earlier today at Christian Retailing, it’s significant enough to warrant repeating here.  Here’s the first few paragraphs from Christianity Today:

Family Christian Stores (FCS) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yet the ministry assured customers yesterday that it “does not expect” to close any of its more than 250 stores or lay off any of its approximately 4,000 employees.

“We strive to serve God in all that we do and trust His guidance in all our decisions, especially this very important one,” stated FCS president and CEO Chuck Bengochea. “We have carefully and prayerfully considered every option. This action allows us to stay in business and continue to serve our customers, our associates, our vendors and charities around the world.” …

With 266 stores in 36 states, FCS is the nation’s largest chain of Christian stores as measured by locations, not sales…

Continue reading at CT Gleanings (news page).

The CT story also links to this FAQ page concerning the filing.

An article at Publishers Weekly itemizes the major creditors:

Publishers are on the hook for millions of dollars led by HarperCollins Christian Publishers which is owed $7.5 million. Other publishers owed large sums include Tyndale House ($1.7 million), B&H Publishing Group ($516,414), FaithWords [Hachette] ($537,374), and Barbour Publishing ($572,002). Ingram’s Spring Arbor distribution arm is owed $689,533.

  1. June 21, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I shop at Family Christian Book Stores on a regular Basis, The management does not have a clue about current events. When the Blood moon series books came out it was like pulling teeth to get them in the store. I had to order my books and wait 7-10 days to get the books. I told management that i would need more but they were seldom on the shelf. John Hagee’s book four blood moons was on the best seller list, but Family christian seldom had them in stock. Then Mark Biltz came out with a D.V.D. on the four blood moons and it was a very popular video but again they were not stocked on a regular basis. The store where I shop at went through the holiday season with only 4 videos on the shelf and they went the first day. I never saw another one on the shelf the entire season. John Hagee even went so far as to put a movie in the theaters and the people I talked to at the store said the phone rang all day with people wanting to buy tickets but they never ordered more books or videos. Those pesky customers kept us always out of stock. a special table on prophecy books and videos would have been a real sales assett, but that never happened.
    Jonathan Cahn has had some real good videos out about Shemitah but they never stock them. They sell too fast, and that just means we would have to order more. They only way I can get best seller videos and books is to special order them .
    When I ran my store, if I had a hot item, I tried to keep them on the shelf and i even went so far as to set aside special displays for my hot selling items. I doubt if you are listening so I’ll just sign off.

    • June 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      It would be interesting to know how much of the situation you describe is of late, and what their response to book trends was back in healthier days. I suspect it was better then.

      Breaking bestsellers can catch us all by surprise. The challenge is to respond quickly, but then not be so heavily stocked that you end up with leftovers after customers have moved on to something else. We have a saying where I work, “Are we seeing the tip of the iceberg or are we seeing the whole iceberg?” Some times it is hard to tell.

      Here in Canada we have the added challenge that sometimes a book simply has only U.S. interest. So we monitor the charts quite closely, but often experience very different results. On the paperback vs. hardcover issue, we’re more aligned with our British and Australian counterparts, so some suppliers (Nelson, Zondervan, Baker, etc.) often offer us the International Trade Paper Edition (ITPE), but some (like Joyce Meyer’s publisher) refuse. So the trends have to be monitored through a different lens.

      I am sure that FCS’ financial woes contributed somewhat to the inability to respond to some of the more recent titles (Cahn, Hagee).

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