comscore Stores’ closure leaves brides scrambling | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Stores’ closure leaves brides scrambling


    A window display is seen at an Alfredo Angelo bridal store in West Covina, Calif., on Friday. The wedding dress retailer filed for bankruptcy Friday and suddenly shut down all of its stores, leaving customers who had dresses on order in a lurch.

These Bridezillas have a legitimate excuse.

The reason: Alfred Angelo abruptly closed its more than 60 wedding-dress stores Wednesday, leaving brides racing to figure out whether they would get the gowns they had ordered. On Friday the company filed for bankruptcy.

The closings added an element of panic to a wedding process often filled with stress, and brides and bridesmaids shared their exasperation on Twitter and Facebook. They rushed to figure out the status of their orders, and store employees were left trying to explain the situation.

In Honolulu there was a sense of urgency at Masako Formals on Cooke Street where store manager Zoe P-Li said there were 16 bridesmaid dresses scheduled to come in.

“We’re kind of scrambling in the sense that even though we’re refunding our brides, we want to make sure they have another option,” she said. “Some of them are getting married in two weeks.”

P-Li said there are five authorized Alfred Angelo retailers in Hawaii but that Masako Formals has the largest stock of Alfred Angelo dresses in the state.

“We’re taking a hit as a local shop,” she said. “We’re trying to come up with other solutions. For the most part, our brides have a lot of perspective on things. Everyone’s been really cool.”

She said that her store had “zero warning” and didn’t receive any announcement until Friday.

“We only do Alfred Angelo bridesmaid dresses. We don’t carry their bridal gowns, thank goodness,” she said.

Cyndi Whitten of Houston, whose daughter had ordered a $1,500 gown from Alfred Angelo for her wedding in October, said, “This has turned into the most difficult and stressful part of the whole thing. You just wanted to sit there and burst into tears because your daughter’s easy part of the wedding isn’t so easy.”

The company, which opened in 1933, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. Patricia Redmond, a lawyer who represents Alfred Angelo, did not return a phone call.

In a letter to customers obtained by The New York Times, Redmond wrote that the company would “encourage” the bankruptcy trustee to “finish and fulfill as many orders as possible.”

“The company regrets that this action will have dramatic impact on you,” Redmond wrote in the letter.

Despite the uproar after the store closings, Angelo Alfred has said nothing about the situation publicly. Some customers realized that the company had shut down after finding signs posted on locked store doors.

A private company based in Delray Beach, Fla., Alfred Angelo sold its dresses at 1,400 other retailers in addition to operating its own stores, according to its website. Like other bridal companies, it has faced pressure from bridal fashion startups and traditional retailers pushing low prices. In its bankruptcy filing, the company said it had no more than $50,000 in assets but more than $50 million in liabilities.

Competitors were rushing to capitalize on the company’s demise. David’s Bridal offered discounts to Alfred Angelo customers if they can show a receipt from the store, as well as free rushed alterations.

Star-Advertiser reporter Dave Segal contributed to this story.

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