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Christian bookstore chain to shut down

AP file photo

Family Christian, the nation’s largest Christian bookstore chain, has announced it is closing all of its 240 stores, including three in West Virginia, in the face of declining sales.

The nonprofit chain has locations in the Charleston Town Center mall, the Huntington Mall in Barboursville and Lakeview Shopping Center in Parkersburg.

“Despite improvements in product assortment and the store experience, sales continued to decline,” said Chuck Bengochea, the company’s president, in a statement Thursday. “In addition, we were not able to get the pricing and terms we needed from our vendors to successfully compete in the market.

Family Christian currently employs more than 3,000 people. It has been in business for 85 years and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015 in an attempt to reorganize.

The company did not specify in its statement when the shutdown of all the stores would occur. A woman who answered the phone number for the Charleston store said the store was being liquidated.

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