It seems to be a turbulent time for retailers who cater to couples in love.
On the heels of David’s Bridal, the largest seller of wedding dresses declaring bankruptcy last week, another big seller of symbols of enduring love, like rings, disclosed that their business has not yet recovered from Covid-19.
According to Signet Jewelers, the largest jewelry company in the United States, the pandemic dented sales of engagement rings as relationships faltered or never even blossomed in the first place due to the lockdowns.
Signet Jewelers (SIG), with brands including Zales, Jared, Kay Jewelers and Diamonds Direct under its corporate umbrella, said a lot of early relationships in particular faded as lockdowns began in the winter and spring of 2020, only to be followed by a dramatic decline in dating.
旗下拥有Zales、Jared、Kay Jewelers和Diamonds Direct等多个品牌的西格内特珠宝公司称，自从2020年早春疫情封锁开始后，许多恋情都被扼杀在萌芽期，随之而来的是约会数量剧减。
This created, it said, an “engagement gap.”
"We’re still seeing it today,” Jamie Singleton, Signet Jewelers’ president and chief consumer officer, said during the company’s investor day last week.
Citing company research, Singleton said couples, on average, get engaged about 3.25 years after they begin dating.
The category will need to grow approximately 25% by calendar year 2026 just to return to prior engagement levels, she said.
But there’s some evidence of a turnaround, said Singleton. And it’s vital for Signet’s business, because 50% of the company’s merchandise sales come from the bridal segment.
Meanwhile, the pandemic also walloped sales of wedding dresses as social gatherings of all kinds came to a standstill, and couples postponed their weddings.
As dates were re-booked coming out of the pandemic, brides-to-be have had to contend with inflation and economic uncertainty bearing down on expenses.
David’s Bridal said these macro trends, as well as competition from more affordable online and secondhand retailers, hurt its business.
"An increasing number of brides are opting for less traditional wedding attire, including thrift wedding dresses. These shifting consumer preferences have significantly exacerbated the company’s financial crunch,” David’s Bridal said in a bankruptcy filing.