LifeWay Christian Resources to Close All Stores in 2019
(RNS) — LifeWay Christian Resources announced Wednesday (March 20) it will close all 170 of its brick-and-mortar stores this year.
That comes as LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, shifts its resources online, according to the announcement on LifeWay’s Facts & Trends website. It will continue to offer resources through its website, customer resource center and network of partners who work directly with churches.
“The decision to close our local stores is a difficult one,” LifeWay acting President and CEO Brad Waggoner said in the announcement.
“LifeWay has developed close connections with the communities where our stores are located, and we have been honored to serve those communities. We will continue serving local congregations as they meet the spiritual needs of their neighbors.”
The digital shift comes amid declining customer traffic and sales, according to LifeWay.
And it follows the closure of other major Christian retailers, such as the United Methodist Church’s Cokesbury stores, which closed in 2012, and Family Christian Stores, which closed its stores in 2017. At the time, Family Christian was considered the world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise.
LifeWay had acquired another chain, Berean Christian Stores, in 2013.
“It’s just one more loss in the industry,” said Wendy Lawton, a literary agent and vice president of Books & Such Literary Management.
“Any time a brick-and-mortar store closes, it’s so painful, because that’s the place you can go that’s not only a
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