Family Christian Stores, the nation's largest Christian bookstore chain, has filed for bankruptcy.
In making the announcement, FCS said it will use the bankruptcy proceedings to sell its assets to a new subsidiary formed by Family Christian Ministries. In 2012, three Atlanta investors acquired FCS and donated it to Family Christian Ministries. According to the company, a new subsidiary of the ministry organization will become the lead bidder for FCS assets and operations. FCS said it hopes the sale process will take 60 days and that there are no plans to close stores or layoff any of its 3,100 employees.
The chain, which operates 266 stores in 36 states, had sales of $216 million in 2014, according to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan which is handling the case. It listed assets of between $50 million and $100 million and liabilities in the same range.
Publishers are on the hook for millions of dollars led by HaroerCollins Christian Publishing which is owed $7.5 million. Other publishers owed large sums include Tyndale House ($1.7 million), B&H Publishing Group ($516,414), Faithwords ($537,374), and Barbour Publishing ($572,002). Ingram's Spring Arbor distribution arm is owed $689,533.
Steve Biondo, senior v-p of the chain, said the recession of 2008, the digital economy, and the rise of multichannel shopping have put heavy pressure on brick and mortar stores and for FCS, a “heavy burden of debt.” A hearing on moving the bankruptcy proceedigns forward is set for February 17.