David’s Bridal has laid off approximately 9,000 workers and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it evaluates its strategic alternatives, including a potential sale. The retailer’s stores will remain open and its ecommerce operations, including the Pearl by David’s platform and vendor marketplace, will continue operating during the proceedings. The wedding retailer also expects to file bankruptcy proceedings in Canada and in the UK for its subsidiary there.
Additionally, members of the Diamond rewards program can continue accruing and redeeming benefits, and David’s Bridal will honor all gift cards, returns and exchanges. The retailer is seeking “first day” relief from the court, including authorization to continue payment of employee wages and benefits, maintain certain customer programs and honor obligations to critical vendors, in a move that is expected to help it find a buyer.
“In light of its liquidity constraints, the company was unable to finalize its marketing and sale process out of court and intends to continue exploring a sale of all or some of its assets pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code,” said David’s Bridal in a statement. “Alongside these efforts, the company is also strategically managing inventory and evaluating its physical footprint to maximize value and the prospect of a successful going concern transaction.”
The layoffs will hit 9,236 workers nationwide, according to a WARN notice filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The retailer did not specify how many stores would be affected across the country, but at least 15 will be in its home state of Pennsylvania. The layoffs are not a result of closures, according to the notice.
David’s Bridal has been exploring multiple ways to improve its fortunes, including a series of one-night trunk shows in partnership with Ashley. Some of its other investments include:
- The Wink, a collection of seasonal product guides curated by an in-house team of designers featuring head-to-toe looks, product descriptions and QR codes that take users directly to the products;
- House of Prom pop-ups, which launched in five select markets across the U.S. in a bid to drum up interest for the wedding retailer’s prom business and its Diamond Prom loyalty program; and
- Pearl by David’s, an all-in-one wedding planning platform and vendor marketplace with features including informational content such as wedding tricks and tips, options to book a physical or virtual appointment at a local David’s Bridal store and tools to help couples create a custom wedding website.
“Over the last several years, we have taken meaningful strides in our transformation to fulfill the needs of the brides of today and tomorrow,” said James Marcum, CEO of David’s Bridal in a statement. “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. 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.”