|Publishers flock to Family Christian Stores bankruptcy hearing|
|Written by Shawn A. Akers|
|Thursday, 19 February 2015 03:00 PM America/New_York|
This week’s bankruptcy hearing for Family Christian Stores (FCS) has drawn a great deal of interest, especially from Christian publishers who are among the unsecured creditors owed more than $40 million.
Among those present were attorneys for Moody Publishers, Rose Publishing, Crossway, InterVarsity Press, Harvest House Publishers, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, FaithWords, Barbour Publishing, Tyndale House Publishers and Baker Publishing Group.
Family Christian Stores, the nation’s largest chain of Christian book and gift stores with 266 stores in 36 states, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. President and CEO Chuck Bengochea said in a release from FCS that, “this action allows us to stay in business and continue to serve our customers, our associates, our vendors and charities around the world.”
According to its Chapter 11 petition, Family Christian Stores’ annual sales have fallen from $305 million in 2008 to $230 million in 2014. The company that employs 600 full-time and 2,500 part-time workers, projects its 2015 sales to fall by at least $14 million.
Mlive.com, the website of the Grand Rapids Press, reported that some creditors “sell their goods through the stores on consignment while others are owed money for inventory on the stores’ shelves.”
The top creditors in terms of money owed are HarperCollins ($7.5 million) and Tyndale House ($1.7).
Christian Retailing solicited comment from Rose Publishing, Baker Publishing Group, Harvest House and InterVarsity Press and Moody Publishers, all of which declined to comment. However, Hendrickson Publishers released a statement regarding Family Christian Stores’ decision to file Chapter 11:
“Hendrickson Publishers was very disappointed to receive the news of the bankruptcy filing by Family Christian Stores. FCS has been a valued customer for over 20 years. We were most disappointed that their proposal would result in our receiving no payment for either our consignment inventory or our receivable due from FCS. This will pose a very difficult financial burden. Christian publishers, as a whole, would lose $20 million for consignment inventory and $40 for receivables, a staggering burden for the Christian publishing industry. We are hopeful that a more equitable resolution will emerge from the bankruptcy process, preserving the collective value to the Christian community of a healthy FCS and healthy Christian publishers.”
Mlive.com reported that, in the chain's Chapter 11 petition, FCS "asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John T. Gregg for ‘fast-track’ approval by April 30."
Family Christian Stores’ bankruptcy attorney, A. Todd Almassian, told mlive.com that he is “hopeful" the company could still complete its deadline for completing the bankruptcy. "I think a lot of progress was made today,” he said. “We’re on track to move forward.”