Britain's Two Leading Christian Bookshops Consider Merger

Talks of a possible merger have opened between Britain’s two largest Christian bookstores. Together Wesley Owen and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) would be present in more than sixty cities, should a merger occur.

|TOP|Should they join forces they would together have the ability and resources to survive in the competitive world of the High Street.

Guy McDonnell, Chairman of the Send the Light Limited Board of Trustees, which oversees Wesley Owen said that: “It is our aspiration that by collaborating with SPCK Bookshops we will see valuable Christian resources have wider distribution and a greater impact,” reports the Church of England Newspaper.

He continued saying: “This is also an important statement about two leading Christian organisations working together to serve our customers better.”

Together the retailing chains have a turnover of £20 million. However neither of them makes profit.

Wesley Owen and SPCK have 44 and 25 stores in Britain respectively, should they merge they would be at a level to compete with some of the countries leading bookshops. The leader of the market, Waterstones currently have slightly less than triple the amount of stores of Wesley Owen and SPCK.

|AD|The Chairman of SPCK’s Governing Body, Clive Wright said that: “Combining the retail operations of our organisations would provide the opportunity to harness the respective strengths of two leaders in the Christian marketplace.”

Both SPCK and Wesley Owen have emphasised that a number of issues must first be defeated. The possible move has been pronounced as “a unique opportunity” that could equip them to meet the “secular pressures within society, escalating operating costs and other challenges”

By merging they said that “a ‘one-stop shop’ for the Christian community and others seeking Christian resources on their journey through life” would come into being.

Wesley Owen has been growing significantly. For example last year three new stores were opened. Also the city centre store in Leeds was moved to a different site which includes a coffee bar and youth zone.

SPCK has issued a statement to the effect that its publishing and grant-making operations would not be influenced by the talks.