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November 19, 2018

David's Bridal files for bankruptcy but assures brides will still get their gowns

Business Bankruptcy
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David's Bridal in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey. The 68-year-old retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as online businesses have hurt sales for the national chain.

Conshohocken-based David's Bridal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, though the long-running retailer promises it will be business as usual for brides awaiting gown orders.

The national wedding retailer first opened in 1950 as a small boutique in Florida. By 2000, it had ballooned into the largest seller of bridal gowns in the country.

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During the last couple decades, though, the business has changed hands several times. May Department Stores purchased David's Bridal in 2000. In 2005, Federated Department Stores, which is the parent company of Macy's, took ownership. The retailer was then purchased by Leonard Green & Partners in 2006 before Clayton, Dubilier & Rice purchased David's Bridal in 2012.

The retailer's Chapter 11 filing signals a restructuring directly influenced, as it is with many older national retailers, by online businesses. The company also has been hurt as more shoppers use David's Bridal locations as a showroom to try on gowns before finding them for cheaper online.

David's Bridal is among a couple dozen major retailers to file for bankruptcy since early 2017, including last June when Toys R Us closed its doors forever, causing many to reminisce about childhood trips to the giant toy store.

The bankruptcy filing reportedly will help David's Bridal reduce more than $400 million of debt.

News of the bankruptcy also evoked the memory of Alfred Angelo Bridal abruptly closing its 60 national locations, leaving many brides and grooms stranded without their previously ordered wedding attire. Officials at David's Bridal stress that the financing changes will not impact shoppers, however.

"Customers can continue to shop across the more than 300 David's Bridal stores and online without disruption," the company said in a statement.

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