Monday, August 28, 2017

Christian bookstores vanishing rapidly.

More book retailers on the chopping block.

Over the last decade, Christian bookstores across the nation have been shuttering. In some cases, consumers are just less interested in the stores' God-blessed inventory. But plenty of others are just opting to purchase religious items from online retailers, with Christian bookstores humbled before the same digital market forces that felled secular mom-and-pop bookstores.

The flailing Christian bookstore industry reached code red status earlier this year when Family Christian Stores, touted as "the world's largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise," declared it would shutter all of its 240 stores across America and lay off 3,000 employees. The 85-year-old chain said that "changing consumer behavior and declining sales" left it no choice.

What happened?

The rise of online retailers created stiff competition for brick-and-mortar stores. The absence of rent, real estate, and large staffs allowed these emerging distributors to offer deep discounts that traditional booksellers simply could not match. The internet also created options for authors to affordably self-publish their work and distribute it straight to consumers. This, combined with a sharp decline in book sales generally and the rise of reduced price e-books, ate into publishers' profits.

These converging trends decimated the print publishing industry. And retailers, which form the industry's front line, bore the brunt of it. Many prominent chains, such as Borders, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks, floundered and eventually folded. Others, including industry giant Barnes & Noble, teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

So, the usual. Just more of it.

It won't be long before retail space starts getting really freaking cheap, my friends.

The Phantom


Jonathan H said...

There are a growing number of alternative uses for retail space - doctor's offices, churches, nightclubs, and colleges in shopping centers or malls are all uses that I have seen recently myself.
It is far cheaper to reuse existing space than to build new in most parts of the US - the trend will continue as long as landlords/ property owners are willing to accept reduced per square foot prices over having the space sit empty. They are the smart ones; those who have let shopping centers and malls sit empty hoping for future income are facing costs sinks and demolition costs instead.
I suspect that the lower rates that come with an increase in empty retail space will pressure traditional office space to lower rates as well to get or keep tenants - of course, don't forget that all real estate is local and so certain localities will still command high prices and other localities won't be able to keep tenants at any price.

The Phantom said...

Hi Jonathan.

I've seen several malls and big stores in parts of Phoenix AZ made into schools and churches. Currently here in Ontario Canada the rents are -fantastically- higher than Arizona. Even silly little stores out in the sticks are expensive.