UPDATE to Publisher’s note in this issue:

David's Bridal’s approval from the Bankruptcy court to sell to Cion Investment Group in a no-cash deal to supposedly keep 195 stores open and avoid a total shutdown was finalized July 17 with the filing of a court order approving the asset purchase agreement.

I am not privy to all the details… however it does appear that whatever stores are slated for closing, leaseholders will have total discretion as to how to dispose of all inventory within their property.

 And I don’t think the dumping of merchandise will end with these stores… I’m expecting to see a number of currently “saved” stores closing within the next 3-6 months.

Regardless of David’s Bridal disposition, we’re still facing a slump in retail sales, the result of a dearth of brides yet a surge in their indecisiveness, and the economic pressure on budgets. To work through this cycle, we need to concentrate on three primary areas:

People: stylists, the front-facing employees critical to a boutique’s success, must be provided consistent hospitality training to include updates to product knowledge and role playing through the different objections and scenarios of today’s brides. Hospitality Training… not sales training. It may seem like semantics, but the difference more accurately describes the experience in your store, and is much more acceptable for younger stylists than “sales training.”

Product: A review of the branded and unbranded collections carried and the styles offered needs to be ongoing to insure that what is offered reflects the needs and desires of the bride, which may be different than what appeals to the manager or owner.

Promotions: Advertising and promotions must be ramped up. The bride’s shopping and buying preferences are changing (yet again) … changes that must be reflected within a boutique’s social media and promotional messages. And whatever the specific message, it must also be reflected within the store and by all employees.

There is a key factor weaving through these approaches… an attitude of action.

You’ve survived and prospered through similar business cycles and market turmoil by taking positive action, by focusing on your unique value, and by a historical ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

Regardless of the circumstances of the day…