Bournemouth Christian bookshop feels economic 'tough time'

A Christian bookshop in Dorset says it is has seen customer numbers drop due to the economic climate and an increase in online shopping.

Keith Jones Christian Bookshop is one of the Bournemouth's largest bookstores.

It employs 10 staff and has 3,000 sq ft (280 sq m) of floor space where it sells books, gifts and music.

Manager Darren Peach said: "We've never really experienced a tough time like we are going through at the moment."

The store, which has been trading for 54 years, stocks about 40,000 titles, which include one of the largest ranges of Bibles in the UK.

Mr Peach said customer numbers had fallen by about a third since their peak in 2005.

"The internet has had a massive effect on independent retailers, particularly on booksellers and music sellers - we want a piece of that market and have our own online presence.

"We were very lucky to be offered the lease to buy a few years ago. If we had to pay town centre rates, I don't think we'd still be going," he added.

The number of people shopping in the town each year has fallen from 21 million in 2005 to 14 million in 2010, according to Bournemouth Business Improvement District (Bid).

Mr Peach said in order to replace those customers, the shop would advertise itself through community projects.

It is supplying a cabin run by Bournemouth's Churches Together at the town's German Christmas market and increasingly selling direct at church meetings.

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