David’s Bridal, which emerged from bankruptcy four years ago, on Monday filed under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, according to a press release and court documents. The company also runs businesses in Canada and the U.K. and will be filing for relief in those countries.
In the meantime the retailer’s stores remain open, and it intends to continue operating as usual, per its release. However the company, which is laying off more than 9,200 employees, said it is evaluating its brick-and-mortar footprint.
As previously reported, the retailer is looking for a buyer, CEO James Marcum said in a statement.
Since its last spin through Chapter 11, David’s Bridal has embarked on a series of initiatives designed to broaden its customer base and respond to declines in the niche apparel segment, as more brides opt out of many wedding traditions and consumers, especially younger ones, struggle financially.
In recent years, the retailer debuted its first Quinceañera collection, partnered with Little Tuxedos on children’s formal attire and introduced an eight-piece wedding gown collection made partially from recycled fibers.
The pandemic scrambled its business further as couples delayed their events or held them virtually. The retailer responded with a “Little White Dress Boutique,” focused on casual styles for lower-key events. After acquiring wedding site Rustic Wedding Chic in 2020 and rolling out its own wedding planning tools, the company launched a wedding-planning platform and marketplace earlier this year.
All the disruption has taken its toll, however. In bankruptcy court documents, the company estimates its liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. After administrative expenses are paid, no funds will be available to unsecured creditors, the retailer noted in its filing.
Despite taking “meaningful strides” in its turnaround, the “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.