David’s Bridal Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Plans to Keep Business as Usual

A David's Bridal storefront.

Image via CNBC.

Wedding dress retail giant David’s Bridal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, but with promises to perform business as usual. Brides, however, can breathe a sigh of relief: the bankruptcy filing will not affect any orders and bridal appointments will not be rescheduled, according to the company.

David’s Bridal, the largest wedding retailer in the country, currently owes creditors between $500 million and $1 billion, according to CNN. The bankruptcy doesn’t come at a huge surprise as the company has been on the verge of this Chapter 11 filing since at least October, when they missed a key debt payment. David’s Bridal reached an agreement with their lenders to reduce their debt by $400 million as part of their bankruptcy terms. This will ensure that they can keep their 300+ retail locations as well as their online store open.

Flashbacks to Alfred Angelo Closings

This bankruptcy filing may have certainly given brides some haunting flashbacks of last year’s Alfred Angelo sudden closing, which left brides in the lurch without their dresses. Many brides were never able to track down their dresses at the stores and thousands lost the deposits that they had put down on their gowns. A year later, there have been $20 million dollars in claims against the now-defunct bridal retailer. Ironically, in response to this sudden shut down, David’s Bridal gave Alfred Angelo brides 40 percent off their gowns.

Changing Wedding Trends

Experts cite a combination of changing wedding trends as well as a high level of debt in their 2012 acquisition by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Because the wedding industry has in general become more casual, the market has become infiltrated with more low-key bridal wear from H&M and Anthropologie, which gives brides more choices than they’ve ever had before. Online retailers have also become a go-to for modern brides, causing them to skip over the once dominant chain. In addition, people are generally getting married less frequently than ever before. The number of new marriages per 1,000 Americans was 6.9 in 2016, which is down from 8.2 in 2000, according to the U.S. government.

“For more than 60 years, David’s has delivered beautiful, high-quality dresses and accessories for our customers’ most special occasions, and the actions we are taking will enable us to build on that tradition,” David’s Bridal CEO Scott Key said in a press statement. “Our team is laser-focused on providing brides and their families with the five-star service and experience they deserve and have come to expect from us.”

As of right now, everything is expected to be business as usual for David’s Bridal. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from the Alfred Angelo incident, it’s this: if you have ordered a dress with David’s Bridal, make sure you know exactly where it is at all times. Track the shipping with the store and don’t be afraid to ask how long it will take for the alterations to be completed. The last thing any bride needs is a missing dress before her big day!

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