David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy

The nation’s largest bridal retailer is missing out as the industry is rebounding from the early period of the COVID-19 shutdown.

David’s Bridal is in trouble. 

As the bridal industry continues to rebound following worldwide shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s largest bridal retailer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to CNN, the retailer, which claims to dress one in four brides each wedding season, fell on hard times during the pandemic but is also at the mercy of shifts in bridal trends. 

Since the pandemic began, more and more brides have opted for casual celebrations that don’t necessitate grand gowns. Modern brides have increasingly rejected traditional gowns and bridal shopping experiences in favor of more modern silhouettes and trendy millennial- and Gen Z-geared online retailers.

Shying away from the “feel like it’s designer for thousands less” that the David’s Bridal tagline promises, many brides have turned to thrifting to spend those thousands less on their dream designer dresses or are willing to splurge on a luxury bridal experience. Additionally, Black brides have been increasingly favoring Black designer brands, which major retailers don’t always carry — even going abroad to find them when necessary.

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David’s Bridal, the nation’s largest wedding retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in five years. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

There’s also the issue of inflation. The Knot recently conducted a survey of 12,000 couples planning to wed this year, finding that 61% felt the economy’s impact on their wedding planning, while 49% cited inflation a significant concern.

According to CNN, the company said in its filing that these shifts have “significantly exacerbated” their business. In a release, David’s Bridal CEO James Marcum said over the last several years, the brand has taken “meaningful strides” to keep up with the market’s evolving demands, including modernizing the company’s marketing and customer experience.  

“Nonetheless, our business continues to be challenged by the post-COVID environment and uncertain economic conditions, leading us to take this step to identify a buyer who can continue to operate our business going forward,” Marcum said. “We are determined to stay focused on our future because we believe we have an important role in ensuring that every bride, no matter her budget, can have her perfect dress.” 

This is the company’s second bankruptcy filing in five years, but it’s not necessarily the end of David’s Bridal, which is looking for a buyer. However, if one is not found, David’s Bridal will reportedly close all of its stores and liquidate. 

In the meantime, the company will reportedly keep its 300 stores and website operating to fulfill all customer orders. It will also continue honoring gift cards, returns and exchanges.

It will not entirely be business as usual though, as the company intends to lay off 9,000 members of its approximate 10,000-employee workforce.  

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