LifeWay Christian Stores to Close Some of Its Locations Due to ‘Accelerated’ Decline in Brick-and-Mortar Industry

LifeWay Christian Store, the chain known for its Christian books, gifts and Bibles, will close some of its locations due to “an accelerated rate of erosion,” the company’s president has announced.

In an email sent to employees, LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer said the company had “prayed that our investments in and commitments to the LifeWay stores would prove fruitful,” but “that just has not been the case,” the Baptist Press first reported on Wednesday.

“To the contrary, we not only continue to see an erosion in the brick-and-mortar channel, we have seen an accelerated rate of erosion in recent months. It was our hope that greater traffic would result in greater sales, and that with our expense reductions and product cost savings, we would be able to offset sales declines. That hope has not been realized with the declines we have seen since September.”

“In simple terms, a strategic shift is required for moving more and more of our resources to a dynamic digital strategy,” Rainer wrote. “We will be transitioning many of those resources from our LifeWay stores to digital channels. The good news is that we will be better prepared to meet the future. The challenging news is that some of our stores will have to close.”

Carol Pipes, director of communications for LifeWay, told The Christian Post that the company is “moving into a new era with a strategic focus on a dynamic digital strategy that will prepare us for the future and allow us to better serve our customers.”

“LifeWay is taking steps to meet customer demand for digital shopping experiences and to expand our reach globally,” she said. “As LifeWay expands its digital channels, the organization anticipates a smaller footprint in brick-and-mortar stores.”

“Like other retailers, LifeWay continues to evaluate the size of its retail footprint,” she added. “We continually make adjustments to our strategy as the market changes and to meet the needs of our customers.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett