Christian Retailing

NEWSLETTERS Current Issue Phil Robertson controversy boosts sales at Christian retail
Phil Robertson controversy boosts sales at Christian retail PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 27 December 2013 03:22 PM EST

PhilRobertson-webHoward Books and New Day Christian Distributors have reported strong sales at Christian retail, spurred on at least in part by Phil Robertson’s recent controversial interview in GQ magazine.

The patriarch of the Duck Commander clan famous for A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty, Robertson spoke against homosexual behavior as well as other sexual immorality, greed, idolatry and more. The interview got him in hot water with the network, which suspended him from the show “indefinitely.”

Howard Books, publisher of Phil Robertson’s Happy, Happy, Happy and a number of other books from the family, has seen an upward trend in sales.

“At BookScan, sales were up 80% week over week,” said Jonathan Merkh, vice president and publisher at Howard Books, told Christian Retailing. “They were also up at LifeWay.”

New Day Christian Distributors also reported healthy sales.

“There has been strong support for Duck Commander product by Christian retailers,” said Ed Leonard, vice president. “New Day saw a major uptick in sales from stores after the story broke, reflecting what one of our customers said was ‘overwhelming support of Phil’s right to speak his beliefs by both Christians and non-Christian conservatives.’  While most stores had already stocked up for Christmas demand, many stores, both in the U.S. and Canada, placed additional orders to show their support for the Robertson family and their Duck Commander line of product.” 

One store that carries New Day products got a complaint, but it “was later found to be from an activist who asked why they were still carrying the product,” Leonard said. “The store kept the products on the shelf while it investigated the complaint. It became clear as the story developed that Phil Robertson loves all people and in that love is not afraid to share God’s Word. Christian stores, while not necessarily agreeing with the way Phil delivered the message, nevertheless stood with him in his right to say it.”

The Robertsons offered a statement on the family’s website, which reads in part: “While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E, but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.” 

Although Phil Robertson is “on hiatus” from the show, A&E aired 25 consecutive episodes of Duck Dynasty in a Christmas Day marathon. The fifth season of the show, which was filmed prior to the controversy, is set to begin airing Jan. 15.

Editor's update: A&E has reinstated Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty. In part, a statement from the network reads: "After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family."

 
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