Christian Retailing

Vital Signs June: Retail reformation Print Email
Written by Felicia Abraham   
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 05:33 PM America/New_York
Retail reformation:

How the economy is impacting consumer habits and business practices

Question: Compared to Dec. 31, 2008, are you more or less hopeful about the future of your business than you were at that time? Why?


Retailers: More hopeful

"Changed location and heavily advertised."

"Sales consistency."

"Making sure that we have lots of books, Bibles and DVDs sale-priced. Daily sales have given me a positive outlook for the future of my business."

"Just prayer. I feel encouraged from God, not from the economy."

"People are looking for some inspiration now more than ever."

"Working harder at keeping costs down and promoting the store more."

"I feel like I'm more focused for some reason. I just felt a renewal of spirit this year."

"We are located in a church with positive preaching."

"Expense reduction, new location with new services, hope for the economy to correct soon."

"As of the first quarter, we have had a big increase in the church supply business and also our robe business from Murphy Robes."

"Increased sales at the store, I believe due to people looking for solutions to their problems and turning to God. Also, books as a cheap form of entertainment."

"Trusting in the Lord more every day."

"Church members buying more devotions, etc. Different trends in worship."

"General market trends that suggest we are nearing the end of this economic downturn cycle."

"Do we have a choice? It is either be hopeful, or doom and gloom. That doesn't work at all, so I may as well be hopeful!"

"The ability to be creative and innovative. People are my business and that's where I need to focus more of my attention: being considerate of, sensitive to and anticipating their needs. Interaction is key."

"Sales are up as I have let our customers know of the possibility of closing our store."

"We have really pinpointed our customers and what they are looking for. They are also very loyal."


Retailers: Less hopeful

"Unable to secure financing."

"Concerned that Christian products now fall into ‘discretionary’ or ‘luxury’ category."

"Sales continue to decline."

"The constant rise in the unemployment rate in our immediate areas."

"This new generation has potentially moved away from music and books which are the mainstays presently."

"The number of families who have heads of households who have lost their jobs, foreclosed on homes."

"Customer base has continued to shrink. Current customers continue to reduce spending."

"Economic climate; changing customer purchasing habits."


Suppliers/Others: More hopeful

"I believe that things will come around. I am not in business for the short haul, I am in it for the long haul."

"Faith in the promises of God."

"Business has been quite good this year, and our customers are optimistic. Plus, our products are timeless, and people consider them necessities rather than luxuries."

"Understanding that set industry standards were more of a hindrance rather than the help they pretended to be."

"We are starting to see signs that consumers are shopping more."

"Signs that the economy may be getting better."

"The products we share speak to the very core of the needs of our customers—including their basic needs in living their daily lives. We provide maps that help our customers travel more successfully to their final destinations."

"A deeper understanding for the need to be totally dependent upon the Lord to provide for me."

"More people will be needing more hope and that will only happen with Jesus Christ. Therefore more people will be filling the churches."

"As the world system gets darker ... things of God are seemingly more appealing to those around us."

"For the most part, accounts are paying their bills which means they are still selling."

"I figure that it can't get much worse, so it has to get better."


Suppliers/Others: Less hopeful

"I don't see the CBA fiction market expanding to meet the interests of younger readers, but rather shrinking in its ability to influence."

"Continuing bad economic news; my own bank and investment—401(k)—statements; increased difficulty in finding work."

"The nation's accumulating debt and the knowledge that we will be facing significant inflation later this year."

"Continued decline in sales."

"The ridiculous spending by our federal government of money we do not have."

"Traffic and high prices."