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Family Christian Closing All 240 Stores

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After 85 years in business, Family Christian is closing for good, shutting down all 240 of its retail stores.

USA Today reports that the company, which had stores in 36 states, decided to close after facing declining sales following its 2015 bankruptcy protection filing.

The Michigan-based company, which transitioned from a for-profit retailer to a non-profit ministry in 2012, blamed the closure on “changing consumer behavior and declining sales.”

“Despite improvements in product assortment and the store experience, sales continued to decline,” Chuck Bengochea, the company’s president, tells USA Today. “In addition, we were not able to get the pricing and terms we needed from our vendors to successfully compete in the market.”

The company, which employed about 3,000 people, said the only remaining option was to liquidate its assets, Christianity Today reports.

While the company hasn’t released a timeline for when stores will close, its online marketplace now features a prominent “All Stores Closing, Everything Up To 30% Off!” banner.

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Family Christian began in 1931 as a bookstore and publishing house, and eventually expanded its retail footprint under the name Family Bookstores. By 2012, the company was owned by private equity firms and was sold back to Family Christian.

Christianity Today reports that the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, noting that it owed more than $90 million in debts.

The company proposed a restructuring plan, but it was met with objections by publishers who claimed the terms unfairly benefited the owner of Family Christian. As a result, the company pulled the plans, sending the retailer to a liquidation auction.

However, a judge rejected the purchase and Family Christian’s creditors voted to sell to FCS Acquisition and keep the doors open. Until now.

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