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Dark cloud of COVID... Finally lifting?

Judging from the attitudes, attendance and activity at last month’s Bridal Pop-Up events, held in Dallas, Salt Lake City, Schaumburg and New Jersey, the dark cloud hanging over us this long winter of COVID is finally lifting.

Stores reported an increase in traffic, lessening of anxiety among their brides, an uptick in shorter wear dates and off-the-rack sales. . . but also a return to multi­ple-store shopping.

Additionally stores seemed particularly focused on narrow­ing their merchandise offerings, and concentrated on those lines they felt provided the best customer service during the strains of this past 12 months.

Manufacturers reported full appointment calendars, stronger sales in bridal and prom than anticipated with most stores leav­ing paper. . . and a repeated request of “how soon can I get my samples?”

Attitudes from reps and stores were mostly upbeat while acknowledging there were still issues to overcome, but clearly happy to renew friendships and relationships in an environment in which they could physically touch gowns and interact safely face-to-face.

This microcosm of industry activity, and that which we see in the overall economy, makes me second guess when I thought a recovery would be visible in bridal. Instead of mid-to-late June, I’m now thinking May will be a breakout month, signaling robust growth through 2023. . . what some economists and pundits predict as a return to a Roaring 20’s type atmosphere and activ­ity level.

As Martin Sandbu, european economics commentator for the Financial Times describes it:

“It is not just the numbers that point to a consumer boom; behind them lies something less tangible but yet more convinc­ing. You do not have to be an economist, only human, to under­stand the desire to let loose, get together, and take risks after a year of cautiously locking down at home and distancing our­selves from one another.”

Let the good times roll!

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