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Wedding gown and formalwear retailer David’s Bridal has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just after laying off more than 9,000 employees.
The Pennsylvania-based company said in a press release Monday that the company, including retail store locations, would remain open and operations would continue as normal while it seeks a buyer for the business.
CEO James Marcum attributed the decision to uncertain economic conditions driven by changing retail behavior resulting in poor sales performance.
“Over the last several years, we have taken meaningful strides in our transformation to fulfill the needs of the brides of today and tomorrow,” Marcum said. “We have successfully modernized our marketing and customer interaction processes and driven our retail service levels to best in class. 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.”
He continued, “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.”
Marum went on to say the company is grateful for “seven decades of brides and customers who have trusted us with the most special events of their lives, as well as to the dedicated associates and valued partners who make our customers’ dreams come true.”
David’s Bridal started in Fort Lauderdale in 1950 as a small bridal boutique. It currently operates 298 stores in 49 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The chain eventually became known for selling off-the-rack wedding gowns, which were reasonably priced, with some being advertised for as low as $199. The company claimed that about 25% of brides in the U.S. wear David’s Bridal gowns at their weddings.
The business changed ownership several times over the years and previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018. This latest layoff comes just after it was announced that 9,236 employees out of 11,000 total would be laid off this year.
According to a Yahoo Finance report, fewer weddings could also be to blame for the business slowdown. The outlet reported there were only 1.7 million marriage ceremonies in the U.S. in 2020, the lowest level in 121 years, after several years of more than 2 million marriages annually.
That number has increased since 2020 but has not reached the pre-pandemic average of 2.2 million marriages yearly.