Though we still have a ways to go to get back to pre-COVID sales volume numbers, we are seeing a glimmer of activ- ity nationally that seems to speak of a potentially fuller rebound by June.

Granted, these glimmers are brighter for some regions of the country such as
Florida and Texas, but even in “hot spot” California stores are reporting an increase in activity.

We’re still dealing with multi-store shopping brides, increased hesitancy of the bride to make a decision, limits to store customer capacity, and lower sales volume year to year for a number of stores... but we’re also seeing brides looking for- ward to and expecting an experience only an in-store visit can provide.

And at the other end of the spectrum, there are stores reporting better year to year sales numbers than expected.

While some brides are price sensitive, there are quite prob- ably an equal number of brides more willing to spend extra on their gowns and accessories.

There are other indications we may be emerging from this dark season:

  • SBA’s release of a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans granted to those businesses that can show at least a 25% decline in revenue due to COVID restrictions, etc.

  • Accessory houses reporting an increase in their sales for December-January, often for higher-priced dramatic headpiece and veils that fully complement the gown and help the bride create a truly personal expression.

  • Industry supply companies indicating that sales of garment bags, hangers, etc., have also shown an increase for the same period.

    Another key indicator: in all of my recent conversations with retailers across the country, very few are closing. Most in fact seemed determined to continue to stay in business, and are guardedly optimistic for what summer will bring.