Christian Retailing

State of the Industry report details ‘volatile’ year Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 18 May 2009 03:18 PM America/New_York

Net sales at Christian retail stores fell almost 11% last year over 2007, according to CBA's annual State of the Industry report.

However, nearly a third of the more than 250 stores that took part in the survey reported sales volumes up in what the trade association described as a "volatile" year. Almost 7% of respondents said they had seen sales increases of more than 20%, as 61.5% indicated revenues were down.

Meanwhile, 54 new Christian stores opened as at least 91 closed. The overall net decrease of 37 outlets in the Christian retail channel was based on information from suppliers and distributors, CBA said.

Details of the channel's performance came as the Association of American Publishers reported an 11.4% decrease in religious books sales for March, with sales totaling $44.1 million. The category was down 12% for the year, as overall book sales decreased by 17% to $388.4 million. Audiobook sales dropped 43.3% in March, and 47% for the year to date.

CBA's report also noted that training was a significant factor in Christian stores' sales increases. "Stores with sales increases are also more likely to have established church-relations programs," the report said.