Pan­icked brides

Cana­di­ans scram­ble for dresses af­ter pop­u­lar bri­dal re­tailer files for bank­ruptcy

Cape Breton Post - - Business - BY JEN­NIFER CHENG

Mar­garet Per­due started bawl­ing when she heard on the ra­dio that the bri­dal re­tailer re­spon­si­ble for her wed­ding gown had abruptly closed its doors.

“This is how bridezil­las are hatched,” said the 33-year-old Toronto res­i­dent.

“I was dis­traught. When you try to plan for your wed­ding in ad­vance and things come crash­ing down, it’s a hit in the heart.”

With her wed­ding in Oc­to­ber, she had al­ready put down a $1,056 de­posit on an ivory floor­length num­ber - named af­ter Princess Elsa from Frozen - back in May. Sud­denly, Per­due found her­self scram­bling to find some­thing else.

But she’s not the only brideto-be pan­ick­ing.

Florida-based bri­dal re­tailer Al­fred An­gelo shut­tered its 60 U.S. stores and filed for Chap­ter 7 bank­ruptcy liq­ui­da­tion in July, leav­ing brides-to-be around the world with­out the gowns they had al­ready or­dered.

Many of them took to so­cial me­dia to com­plain. At the same time, some women have of­fered up their own gowns.

“Size 12/14 dress. De­tach­able straps,” one tweeted on Au­gust 5. “I would love to do­nate my wed­ding dress to any bride who has been shafted by Al­fred’s #Al­fredAn­gelo.”

This month, Al­fred An­gelo posted a state­ment on their web­site: “The Chap­ter 7 Trustee greatly re­grets the up­set that Al­fred An­gelo’s July 14 bank­ruptcy fil­ing has caused its cus­tomers,” it said.

“While we have been suc­cess­ful in ob­tain­ing cus­tomer records and de­liv­er­ing many dresses and ac­ces­sories for cus­tomers all over the coun­try, even af­ter the bank­ruptcy fil­ing date, it has now be­come ap­par­ent that the lo­gis­ti­cal and fi­nan­cial strain of ful­fill­ing each and ev­ery open order makes con­tin­u­ing that course of ac­tion no longer pos­si­ble.”

Al­fred An­gelo’s bri­dal wear was sold at 1,400 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing many in Canada.

Mar­cella Lico, man­ager at Best for Bride in Hamil­ton, said her store has 79 clients who were af­fected, 19 of whom are brides. And that’s not even in­clud­ing the ones at the com­pany’s three other lo­ca­tions in On­tario.

She said she is “re­pulsed” by Al­fred An­gelo’s treat­ment of the peo­ple buy­ing and sell­ing their dresses.

“For a com­pany that’s been around for as long as they have, it’s dis­gust­ing,” Lico said.

Luck­ily, most of the af­fected clients have time, she said. Her store has only is­sued five re­funds so far, which amount to about $8,000 in lost busi­ness.

Lico said she was on va­ca­tion when the news broke and many clients started call­ing the store

be­fore her staff had a chance to reach out.

“In the first cou­ple of weeks, we didn’t have much info to give them. We didn’t know if we would be get­ting the (dresses),” she said. “We still haven’t heard from Al­fred An­gelo at all.”

Lico said the fact that Al­fred An­gelo filed for Chap­ter 7 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in­di­cates they had fi­nan­cial is­sues for a long time.

“They should have ad­vised re­tail­ers like me that they are re­struc­tur­ing and taken the moral road, where they stop tak­ing or­ders un­til they fig­ure things out,” she said. “This way, they are not leav­ing mil­lions of peo­ple in the lurch.”

Lico said she has been al­lo­cat­ing sam­ples to brides, who get up to 40 per cent off, so that at least some of them can con­tinue

with the vi­sion they had for their wed­ding.

“When you go shop­ping for a dress, you get emo­tional,” Lico said. “You plan your whole wed­ding based on it. You de­velop a bond with the dress. It’s not that easy to get over.”

And it’s not just brides who have had to change their plans.

Tay­lor’s Bri­dal Bou­tique, which is based in Elmira, Ont., has four bri­dal par­ties who were im­pacted, three of whom re­ceived re­funds.

“We would have never con­sid­ered hold­ing the money they paid and mak­ing them choose other dresses from Tay­lor’s they were not 100 per cent happy with,” said owner Linda Tay­lor.

“This was a very un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion and one I would have never ex­pected af­ter work­ing with this com­pany for 20 years.”

CP/AP, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS - WALT MANCINI

A win­dow dis­play is seen at Al­fredo An­gelo bri­dal store in West Cov­ina, Calif., Fri­day, July 14. Florida-based bri­dal re­tailer Al­fred An­gelo shut­tered its 60 U.S. stores and filed for Chap­ter 7 bank­ruptcy liq­ui­da­tion in July, leav­ing brides-to-be around the world with­out the gowns they had al­ready or­dered.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.