|Christian retailers give positive holiday shopping reports|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Tuesday, 03 December 2013 03:21 PM EST|
Christian retail stores featured specials and reported healthy sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The Mardel chain offered free standard shipping for Cyber Monday, while LifeWay Christian Stores encouraged customers to “tote the savings.” Customers that purchased a special, names-of-Christ tote bag for $1.99 and filled it with products totaling $40 or more, including the price of the tote, received 20% off of their total purchase. LifeWay’s offer extends from Cyber Monday to Dec. 7. LifeWay customers also received $5 in free bonus bucks with the purchase of a $25 gift card.
Family Christian Stores offered a Cyber Week Sale featuring online deals, including half off of select Bibles, two-episode VeggieTales DVDs for $3.97 and select videos, including Duck Dynasty Seasons 1 and 2, at half off.
Kirk Blank, president of Munce Group, has seen “very good reports” from Munce stores.
“Munce stores were generally up for the weekend and especially up on Saturday,” Blank said. “The Munce Group placed a significant ‘shop local’ and Small Business Saturday emphasis through print, online and social media.”
In addition, Munce stores are “now in the second day of our 12 Days of Christmas Sale,” he noted, which, with its one-day deals, is the group’s “biggest, most aggressive sale of the year.”
Canada’s four-store Blessings chain offered a 10% discount and free shipping off of Blessings.com orders. Mark Hutchinson, president, was “very encouraged” with the results of his stores’ sales Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“Black Friday sales were up 7.2% for us on last year’s sales,” Hutchinson told Christian Retailing. We also saw an increase in the average transaction by 8%. This was our single-largest sales day of the year. Cyber Monday was up by 16% and the average transaction was up by 4%. Both days were solid days for us.”
Sue Smith, manager of Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Mich., reported being “happy with the totals” of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“Year over year, we had a 20% increase to 2012,” Smith told Christian Retailing. “But, if you compare this year to 2011, then we are down 11%. Curiously, we had better overall sales in the throes of a major renovation.
“This weekend is always a struggle for me because I feel that I am giving the store away in discounts,” she added. “But our vendors heavily supported us with deep discounts at the register, and in the end, we made out better with our margins.”
Despite these positive reports, CBA's CROSS:SCAN data revealed that total dollars sold per store declined 57% from 2012 for the week, including Black Friday and the following Saturday.
"Last year, the comparable week reported a 22% sales increase over the previous year, overturning a two-year slump of same-period declines," CBA reported. "Sales were strong with major releases."
Perhaps because of the lack of key new releases this year, more backlist titles were among Christian stores’ top sellers, according to CBA, including the leather edition of Jesus Calling (Thomas Nelson), which ranked at No. 1, and I Am a Church Member (B&H Books), which ranked second overall for the week. The data indicated that the WoW 2014 CD (Wow/Capital Christian Distribution) came in at No. 3, and new VeggieTales DVD Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas (Big Idea/Word Distribution) listed at No. 4. The Duck the Halls Christmas CD (Universal/Capital Christian Distribution) and Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen cookbook (Howard Books) ranked in the top 20 at Nos. 13 and 14, respectively.
Overall, books and Bibles excelled at Christian retail, with "about 68% of overall store sales during the week," CBA reported.
Editor's note: Further comments were added after this story's original publication.