America's biggest Christian bookstore chain, Family Christian Stores, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Michigan company says it won't lay off any employees or close any of its stores, however.
Publishers Weekly reports that the chain, founded in 1931 as Zondervan Publishing House, "will use the bankruptcy proceedings to sell its assets to a new subsidiary formed by Family Christian Ministries." The company is in debt to several publishers, including HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Tyndale House, and has "assets of between $50 million and $100 million and liabilities in the same range."
Family Christian Stores runs 266 stores with more than 3,000 employees and operates an online store. The retailer sells books and Bibles, as well as Christian-themed gifts and music.
According to the news website Michigan Live, the company's petition to a federal court noted that bookstore sales have been declining since 2008, with annual sales dropping by $75 million in six years. The chain hopes to restructure its debt within the next two months.