By Paul Pannone
Through the weekend the wedding business learned that David’s Bridal is up for sale sending up a resounding round of applause. Remarks on all Social Network channels answered “finally”, hoping for the end of the tyrannic effects and changes caused by David’s meteoric growth.
David’s Bridal changed how business was done in boutique bridal stores, building a system of stocking affordable designer gowns, discontinued dress and manufacturer over runs at below retail prices. Cheap, fast and brainless became the new mantra for a generation of brides that could spend thousands for their wedding dress, but because of David’s Bridal, no longer had to.
Initial exuberance on the newZ of David’s Bridal going up for sale has some retailers wondering if they’re better off fighting who and what they know. A new owner and new approach could shake things up.
In its day the innovation and execution at David’s Bridal restructured the bridal dress landscape. Despite David’s Bridal’s notorious bashes in bridal blogs for their cheap, flimsy stores, where brides shopped for gowns shared community-like dressing areas, David’s grew to capture a significant part of the wedding dress market.
Traditional retail dress stores often refer to the downside of shopping at David’s. Some store owners told eWedNewz they cannot understand why a bride would put herself through the humiliation of the David’s shopping experience.
“We offer a clean, proud environment where the bride, the mother and her bridesmaids can come, sit, relax and have a great experience,” according to independent bridal store owners.
But because of the disparity between similar products, consumers (arguably 50% of the wedding dress market) trade the better shopping experience for significant cost-savings available through David’s.
So what happened?
According to sources at Leonard Green, as long as David’s hit their financial goals they were left to run as they saw fit. But since several moderate attempts to raise revenue including going into the photography business, shedding itself of costly Priscilla of Boston stores and adding Vera Wang to boost average ticket prices, a shrinking wedding market shows an impossible market for growth. To investors, growth and the ability to grow is the only reason why they hold on to a company.
eWedNewz readers are responding to the newZ;
On ongoing poll so far shows 58% of respondents say Leonard Green is smart dumping David’s Bridal– down from an initial 67%; 40% say it remains to be seen. At one point the poll was evenly split at 50-50. At no point was “No”, saying LG is making a mistake in putting David’s up for sale, higher than 2%.
What do you say?
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