Saks Fifth Avenue plans to close its bridal salons in its New York and Beverly Hills flagships by yearend.
“We are always evaluating our business operations to ensure we are focused on our most productive opportunities. As such, we’ve made the decision to close our bridal salons at our New York and Beverly Hills flagship locations at the end of 2020. We’re working with our bridal customers to complete all current orders and are committed to delivering a personalized, service-oriented experience,” said a spokeswoman for Saks.
The bridal business has experienced seismic uncertainty as COVID-19 has forced thousands of weddings this year to be rescheduled, canceled or scaled down to the closest family and friends.
Saks is not the only high-end store to bid adieu to bridal. In early April, Nordstrom closed its Wedding Suites. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to be able to serve many customers through our Wedding Suite business over the years. However, when we looked at the feedback we were getting from our customers, it was clear our resources should be focused on bringing them a different mix of styles and merchandise they they want to find when they shop with us,” said a Nordstrom spokeswoman. Nordstrom had 13 Wedding Suites. The company honored all its appointments until it had to unexpectedly close its stores in mid-March due to COVID-19. She said they worked closely with each of their customers to take care of their bridal needs. .
Neiman Marcus still operates one bridal salon in its downtown store in Dallas and its bridal department is available online, said a company spokesman. Bergdorf Goodman in New York is still operating its bridal salon and is taking new orders. It also carries bridal online.
While not taking any new orders, Saks said it isn’t canceling any orders and will fulfill all customer orders in progress, offering fittings and alterations. If the customer chooses to do alterations at a later date, Saks will ship them the gown and suggest alteration options. It will also store gowns if the bride isn’t getting married until next year.
Saks is currently evaluating the best use of the salon space. Over the years, Saks has been a premiere location for brides to shop for their wedding gowns, offering such designers as Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Reem Acra, and Carolina Herrera.
Back in 2008, Saks closed 14 out of 16 of its bridal salons, but continued to focus on bridal at its New York and Beverly Hills flagships. The store will continue to sell eveningwear which can be appropriate for bridesmaids and of course, some brides as well. It was learned that all Saks bridal sales associates have been offered alternative positions in the company.
The bridal business, in general, has had stifled growth over the past five years partially due to young couples living together longer and putting off parenthood. Across all sectors — wedding gown manufacturers, retailers, venues and others — the wedding service industry totaled $78 billion, representing 377, 045 businesses and 1.2 million jobs last year, according to IBISWorld.