Christianity Today is reporting that the largest chain of Christian retail stores has purchased itself from its previous private equity owners. Family Christian Stores has had a rough patch. There are still nearly 300 stores (for comparison Lifeway has 163 stores).
In 1993 Zondervan publisher and the stores separated ownership. Family Christian Stores grew primarily through acquiring other christian bookstores to its current size. Since 1999 they have been primarily owned by a private equity firm. Over the past couple years they have been increasingly focused on using their physical presence to leverage their non-profit arm (The James Fund).
The new ownership structure will donate all profits to the James Fund which primarily focuses on serving widows and orphans (from James 1:27).
It still seems questionable whether a large scale Christian bookstore can be profitable in the long term when many other books stores are closing. Also as part of the announcement FCS killed their ebook initiative (which should never have launched.)
I cannot remember the last time I purchase something in a Christian bookstore (other than the one at my church.) Do you use Christian book stores?