Over the past 70 years, David’s Bridal has been a go-to wedding dress retailer for brides-to-be. In fact, CBS News reports that one in four brides wear a dress from the brand on their big day and 90 percent of brides visit the store’s website at least once during their own wedding-planning process. Now, the popular retailer has filed for bankruptcy. On April 17, 2023, David’s Bridal announced in a release that it has gone bankrupt and laid off 9,000 of its 10,000 employees. This is the second time the retailer has filed for bankruptcy in five years, The New York Times reports.. According to the statement, the store is currently looking for a buyer who can maintain business operations. If David’s Bridal can’t find someone to occupy the position, it could close all of its stores and liquidate, the company says.
So, what does this mean for brides-to-be who have purchased wedding dresses from the company? First and foremost, if you are awaiting on your order, there’s no need to panic. While the company tries to find a buyer, it will keep its 294 stores up and running, which means gown orders will be fulfilled. If you’ve already purchased a dress from the retailer, the store says it will continue to fulfill all of its customer orders without any delay. Plus, the alterations department is available if you need to make adjustments to your wedding dress. At this time, David’s Bridal will continue honoring gift cards, returns, exchanges, store credits, and deliveries without any changes to their existing policies.
And if you haven't purchased a gown but were hoping to, there's good news for you, too: You can even continue to shop at David's Bridal stores, according to the “Bride FAQ” section on its website. The brand will also keep its online business open, so you can browse and order gowns on its website.
What caused the company to file for bankruptcy at this moment in time? Although David’s Bridal made significant progress after filing for bankruptcy in 2018 due to restructuring its business, the company said it can’t survive the post-pandemic world and the current inflation rates. "We have successfully modernized our marketing and customer interaction processes and driven our retail service levels to best in class," CEO James Marcum says. "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."
The company has also suffered from changes in the wedding industry and wedding dress shopping trends. Since many brides are looking for less formal gowns, the company has faced competition from other online and secondhand retailers. “An increasing number of brides are opting for less traditional wedding attire, including thrift wedding dresses,” David’s Bridal explains. “These shifting consumer preferences have significantly exacerbated. The demand for formal wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and related accessories has decreased substantially in the current environment.” Additionally, couples are getting married later, so orders for David’s Bridal dresses have staggered. “Due to the significant number of weddings postponed during the pandemic, brides still find it challenging to secure their ideal wedding venue, resulting in couples elongating their wedding planning cycles and brides delaying their timing for selecting a dress,” Marcum shares.
According to CDC data, less people are getting married overall this year, which means there is a lower demand for wedding dresses in general. The data suggests that the current amount of nuptials are below pre-pandemic levels. Since the 1980s, the number of couples tying the knot has been gradually declining as well.