Largest Christian Book Chain in U.S. Files for Bankruptcy

Family Christian Stores, the largest chain of Christian bookstores in the U.S., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The chain says it has no plans to lay off employees or close any of the 266 stores it operates in 36 states. It is seeking to sell its assets to a newly created subsidiary of Family Christian Ministries, Publishers Weekly reports. In 2012, a group of Atlanta investors acquired the chain of stores and donated it to Family Christian Ministries.

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Family Christian's bookstores sell Bibles and Christian-themed books, gifts and music. The chain, headquartered in Michigan, did $216 million in sales in 2014, but its sales have steadily declined since 2008, according to court filings reported by Michigan Live.

“We strive to serve God in all that we do and trust His guidance in all our decisions, especially this very important one,” Chuck Bengochea, president and CEO of Family Christian Stores, said in a statement. “We have carefully and prayerfully considered every option. This action allows us to stay in business and continue to serve our customers, our associates, our vendors and charities around the world.”