LifeWay announces closing of stores

LifeWay announces closing of stores

NASHVILLE — In light of “an accelerated rate of erosion” at “brick-and-mortar” stores, LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer has announced that some LifeWay stores will be closing.

Rainer made the announcement in a Jan. 15 email that went out to all LifeWay employees. “We prayed and hoped that our investments in and commitments to the LifeWay stores would prove fruitful. That just has not been the case,” he wrote.

The number of stores to close and the timing of those closures has not been announced.

Rainer said sales have declined since September and a “strategic shift is required for moving more and more of our resources to a dynamic digital strategy.” Rainer wrote.

LifeWay operated 174 bookstores in 2017, according to the latest figures published in Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annuals. The last time LifeWay’s sales exceeded its

total operating expenses was 2009, when LifeWay reported a $3 million increase in “unrestricted net assets from operations,” according to the SBC Annuals.

Since then total operating expenses exceeded sales each year. The margin by which operating expenses exceeded sales grew from $2.3 million in 2010 to $35.5 million in 2017. (BP)