Religious bookseller Veritas set to close three of its outlets

Difficult trading sees more focus on online sales for business owned by Irish bishops

 Pope Francis mugs among some of the range of Pope Francis memorabilia and souvenirs on sale at Veritas  earlier this year . Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Pope Francis mugs among some of the range of Pope Francis memorabilia and souvenirs on sale at Veritas earlier this year . Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

a
 

It appears that not even the word of God is safe from the relentless march of technology with Veritas, the religious books and gifts retailer, announcing plans to close three of its outlets in Ireland so it can focus more on online sales.

The network of nine shops are are run by a retail company owned by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Three of its outlets in Sligo, Monaghan and Naas are set to close by the end of January.

Director of Veritas Aidan Chester expressed regret at the move but said all three outlets had found trading “difficult in recent years”. He said he had held discussions with the four full-time and nine part-time employees who will he impacted by the closures.

He said closures were regrettable and accepted “redundancies at any time are difficult for all involved, but especially so in the lead up to Christmas.”

He said Veritas had done its best to keep job losses to a minimum and was working to relocate staff where possible.

“The decision to close these outlets is based on our company’s strategic planning in response to the changing shopping behaviours of our customers, “he said.

The company said it would continuing investment in its online business which has seen sales increase by 52 per cent this year.

“For the future, Veritas will continue to focus on opportunities to increase our online sales including click and collect and mobile enabled shopping alongside new opportunities in our remaining store network,” Mr Chester said.

Veritas has its roots in the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland which was set up in 1899 to publish and distribute a range of religious material to the Irish people.

In 1928, Veritas opened its first store, on Abbey Street in Dublin, and quickly became the go-to place for anyone in the market for religious artefacts and pamphlets.

It subsequently started distributing pamphlets published in England and the United States and in the 1930s and 1940s it supplied church vestments and flirted with the travel trade with organised trips to Lourdes, Fatima and Knock.

Between 1979 and 1988, retail outlets were opened in Cork, Ennis, Sligo, Letterkenny and Stillorgan and in more recent years it opened stores in the Blanchardstown Centre, in Monaghan and in Naas and Newry.

a