Things have been moving very fast over the past 24 hours. Here is the latest as I understand it.
Yesterday Mark Brewer sent the following to the bookshops and media contacts:
As we move into the second month of 2008, some of the SSG bookshops have experienced the same reduced footfall and sales as most every other bookseller and High Street retailer. In some of our locations for the good of the overall chain, we have taken the decision of cost-cutting.
On Friday, we therefore closed Canterbury and Cambridge and intend to reopen both after re-fitting and re-stocking these shops. We have other locations slated either for reduced operating hours, temporary closure or permanent closure.
Today the staff at the SSG (former SPCK) shops in Sheffield, Lincoln and Norwich were sacked by e-mail and the shops are closed. Signs outside say that the shops are closed for a refit or somesuch.
The shops in Bristol and Salisbury have been put on reduced opening hours.
This follows the recent closure of the Cambridge shop and the forthcoming closure of the
Canterbury shop (report).
Canon Dr Joanne Grenfell of Sheffield Cathedral has issued a statement in response to Mark Brewer's press release, posted here yesterday.
The Bookseller has a report: Christian chain closes branches to cut costs.
Update (6th February): More on the Norwich situation here.