NEWS EMERGED this weekend of another closure as Living Oasis Manchester reportedly closed its doors for the last time on Saturday, and Leeds has issued a last-ditch shout out for help on facebook, announcing that they are “exploring other options” as Nationwide Christian Trust prepares to withdraw support:
Living Oasis Cheltenham shut up shop last Friday (8th July), becoming the chain’s fifth closure in four weeks. Ray George, the chain’s owner, said only the Harrogate branch is making money. On average the recently closed stores were losing £2,000–£4,000 a month, which George said was unsustainable.
The report also cites Eddie Olliffe, who observes succinctly:
I think the model was flawed—to rely on financial support from the church community I think was naïve, because churches themselves are struggling and perhaps do not have the resources or the vision.
An earlier report states that staff in Cheltenham were given only two days notice, which sadly seems to typify the lack of respect NCT has shown to its staff, a factor that has no doubt contributed to the company’s demise as bookseller morale has crumbled.
As of the date of this report, only Harrogate, South Woodford and Watford appear to remain trading, with Liverpool still in limbo pending completion of its “Phase 2” redevelopment as it continues to seek investors. The claim to be “one of a growing, national chain of stores” has been removed from the Who We Are page and — with an interesting change in emphasis — the store now describes itself as “working in partnership with Nationwide Christian Trust”.
Todays sale went ever so very well! I’m stunned as well as a bit worn out. Sold lots and lots of books, two guitars and a train set! Big thanks to all who donated books and to helpers and customers. Next one booked for Saturday 24th September, again at Sherwood Methodist. No plans beyond that so far.
If you’re in Nottingham, please book that date in your diary now and let’s see what the future brings…