Alfred Angelo Bridal Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers of wedding gowns, closed all 60 of its U.S. stores on Friday after filing a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida.
Among the shuttered stores were six in Southern California – West Los Angeles, West Covina, Brea, Huntington Beach, Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga. All were left dark early Friday, to the surprise of many brides-to-be throughout Southern California.
Few assets, deep liabilities
The company declined to provide details, but the bankruptcy filing lists the company’s estimated assets at $50,000 or less, with estimated liabilities at $50 million to $100 million.
Brides or bridal parties affected by the sudden store closures have been advised to contact attorney Patricia A. Redmond with the Miami law firm Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson. Redmond could not be reached Friday, and her assistant wouldn’t provide any information either.
“We have no comment at this time,” she said.
Attorney says company plans to honor dress orders
But in an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Redmond noted that she has received thousands of emails from women who are concerned about getting their dresses.
“I will have a list of dresses that have been sold and are on hand, and we will go through them to get them delivered as soon as possible,” Redmond said, adding that some stores already shipped the dresses out to customers if they were on hand before the stores closed, so they could receive them through the mail.
Known for its Disney-themed designs, the company has operated 60 stores in the U.S. that sell its products. Alfred Angelo gowns and dresses also are sold through partnerships at more than 1,400 other retail locations.
An early indication of trouble
Tory Dean, a manager with The Dresser Bridal Couture shop in Fullerton, said she already had an idea that something was up.
“We kind of got wind about it last weekend,” she said. “We had a couple walk in the door who had gone to the Alfred Angelo store in Brea by the Brea Mall, and they said that the store was no longer able to order dresses – and everything in the store was discounted. So they came and shopped with us.”
One worried couple
One thing is certain: The sudden store closures have left many couples – including Victor Esquivel and Airam Arroyo of Anaheim – scrambling to find a wedding dress somewhere else.
“One of the recommendations we got was to book the dress many months before our wedding date,” Esquivel said, noting that they just recently ordered their wedding dress from the Alfred Angelo shop in Brea. “We knew we were far behind. We were in such a hurry gathering the money for the deposit for the dress my future wife fell in love with. Now a couple weeks later, hearing this news broke her heart … and now were even more stressed than we were before.”
Founded in 1933 by Alfred Angelo and his wife, Edythe Piccione, in Philadelphia, the company expanded its stores over the years under their children’s leadership.
Weddings are expensive
A recent study from The Knot, a wedding resource and marketplace, shows that the average amount spent on a wedding dress in 2015 was $1,469. But that’s just a piece of the overall wedding package that couples typically buy. And it gets pricey.
They also spend an average of more than $2,600 on a photographer, nearly $2,000 on an event planner and $575 on a wedding cake, among other expenses. All told, the total cost for an average California wedding in 2015 was $44,646.
That might seem like a lot, but it’s small compared to the $82,299 average for couples in New York.
Lucrese Roques, who owns The White Dress For Less bridal outlet shop in Santa Clarita, said Alfred Angelo was wrong to abruptly close its stores with no warning.
“That’s extremely unethical,” she said. “What are you guys doing? You’re leaving brides high and dry.”
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