- In just shy of two months, David's Bridal is emerging from bankruptcy, according to a company press release. With a "substantially stronger balance sheet and a clear strategy for the future," the company said it is now "poised for long-term growth."
- The company reduced its debt by roughly $450 million and is now owned by a group of lenders, including Oaktree Capital Group, according to previously released details of its restructuring plan.
- David's Bridal also announced several new efforts that will roll out this year, including lower prices on best-sellers, expanded sizing between sizes zero and 30, a broader online assortment in bridesmaids and special occasion dresses, and more in-store events.
The country's largest wedding gown retailer appears to have exited bankruptcy without a tear. During the restructuring process, executives at David's Bridal made a conscious effort to keep customers calm and stifle perceptions that the process meant liquidation, CEO Scott Key said in a statement. He added that over the last few months dresses arrived on time and stores stayed open.
But it hasn't been easy. David's Bridal had been trying for the better part of a year to reduce debt and build in financial wiggle room. But S&P downgraded the wedding retailer several times, and it ultimately filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2018.
Some of David's Bridal's financial instability stems from a roughly $1 billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Leonard Green & Partners in 2012. That, paired with its subsequent bankruptcy, groups David's Bridal with the 15% of PE-owned companies that ultimately file for Chapter 11, according to a Retail Dive analysis.
While David's Bridal may still be regaining its footing after several months of uncertainty, it's likely to remain a mainstay for budget-conscious brides, especially as it moves increasingly toward offering best-sellers at lower prices. It may also help that many competitors are closing up shop. Over the past few years, Gap has shuttered its Weddington Way banner, J. Crew cut its bridal line and Vow to Be Chic and Alfred Angelo have disappeared from the retail landscape. If David's Bridal can keep the trust of its customers and its balance sheet in order, it may be positioned to hold onto the niche market.