Get Thee Behind Me, Big Box
By George Anderson
In the Christian Gospel of Mark 4:8:33, Jesus rebuked his disciple Simon Peter saying “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men.”
For many in Christian products retailing, their business is not so much about profits and losses as it is about carrying on the work of Jesus and his disciples. Increasingly, however, these retailers say they are losing out on sales to others firmly entrenched in doing business in the way of men.
In the past two years, Christian retailers have seen their share of market share decrease from 57 percent to 53 percent. However, sales of Christian-themed products have risen from $4 billion in 2000 to $4.3 billion last year.
Bill Anderson, president and CEO of Colorado Springs-based CBA, the trade association for Christian retailers and their vendors, told the Rocky Mountain News at the International Christian Retail Show in Denver this week that those running Christian stores need to differentiate by emphasizing their expertise in the subject matter.
“Many people say ‘I want to shop in a store that shares my values,’ ” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: How do you see the competitive battle between Christian specialty stores and broad line retailers such as Wal-Mart and Costco playing
out? Will secular retailers greatly expand their emphasis on religious-themed items as a result of changes taking place in American society? –
George Anderson – Moderator