THIS WEEK has brought mixed news from Living Oasis with plans for the Croydon store placed on indefinite hold but a brand new “all singing and all dancing” online store launched in place of the previous holding pages at livingoasis.co.uk.
In its heyday, before the collapse of IBS-STL this time last year, Croydon was one of Wesley Owen’s flagship stores and went on to win the 2009 Christian Booksellers Convention ‘Large Retailer of the Year’ award. Unfortunately it appears that high rental charges mitigated against either CLC or Koorong taking on the store and attempts by Living Oasis to secure the lease fell through over the summer when a rival bidder stepped in. Plans to find alternative premises have now been shelved by Living Oasis.
No official reason for shelving the Croydon plans has been given but other sources indicate that the company, like so many others, is under increasing financial pressure: donations to support Living Oasis may be made via the new website.
Introducing the site, Andy Twilley, Director of Christian Life and Ministry at Nationwide Christian Trust, the owners of Living Oasis, explained that it has been “designed to provide the flexibility of internet shopping without undermining the viability of the retailers in the high street.” Alongside online sales, the site offers an in-store reservation service, an option to check stock levels of selected items in the branches, a list of branches and an events page.