Canada Markets closed
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Omicron has not yet led to a ‘noticeable shift’ in wedding plans, David’s Bridal CEO says

In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

David's Bridal CEO Jim Marcum joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the Omicron wave of the coronavirus is affecting couples' wedding plans and the anticipated record year for nuptials due to pandemic postponements.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: 2022 is shaping up to be a record year for weddings due to pent-up demand from COVID. And that is certainly good news for David's Bridal, the nation's largest wedding retailer. Joining us now is their CEO, Jim Marcum.

Jim, good to have you here. So we know that COVID upended a lot of people's plans to say "I do." When you look at the big picture, how has COVID sort of changed the wedding industry, perhaps for good, going forward? What has changed, and what are some of the things that you think are going to stay the same?

JIM MARCUM: Listen, I think, you know, the last two years, there's been a lot of change in the landscape. But one thing's for sure in the end-- love is not going away. And a lot of weddings that have been postponed, they are going on. And we are cautiously optimistic for 2022, and the industry reports right now are very bullish on '22, especially in the latter part of the year.

KARINA MITCHELL: Now, what sort of backlog is now omicron throwing into all of this? Because there are so many people who already had their wedding stalled or postponed due to the pandemic at the onset and now have sort of, when things got better, made plans to move forward coming into 2022. So how does it create an even bigger backlog, if you will?

JIM MARCUM: Well, what's interesting right now is, we have-- we have a ton of data on our consumers, as to when their event dates are and everything right now. And omicron is relatively new. What's interesting is, we have not really seen yet any noticeable shift in plans of weddings at this point. I mean, her mindset right now is, she's going forward. Now, we'll obviously monitor it closely and wait and see.

But David's is pretty unique. I mean, we've been really fighting this battle with timing of weddings and supply chain and all of that for the last two years. And I think-- as a result, I think we're pretty nimble today in being able to respond to whatever her desires are.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Jim, I want to talk more about that. Because with all of the challenges that these couples have to face, they have to deal with supply chain issues too, as do you in your business. And we know how important it is if somebody finds that perfect wedding dress, so they have to have it. How do you ensure that they're going to get it and get it on time?

JIM MARCUM: Well, I'll tell you what's unique about David's is, we have our own proprietary supply chain. So we're in control of our production. We're sourcing our own raw materials. We're balancing between countries and factories-- depending on transportation, logistics issues, and those type of things-- and actually COVID itself. And it's been quite amazing-- as a result, I think we've been very successful.

We have actually-- we have been known for putting dresses in production. If there is a risk of missing a date, we will produce a dress almost overnight and have it put on the underbelly of a plane to get it in in time for the event. So we've had a lot of success in that, and it really does differentiate us. Because, you know, we basically have the majority of our assortments sitting in distribution centers in the US ready to go, and so we can make sure we satisfy that demand.

KARINA MITCHELL: And then what are you seeing as far as changes that couples are making to events let's say beforehand, like their bachelor party or shower party, and then at the actual wedding as far as masking and social distancing?

JIM MARCUM: Well, I think if you went back-- you have to really separate 2020 and actually the first quarter of probably '21 and the fall of '21. And when I say that, there was a period of time, absolutely, in early '20, when COVID started to originally break out, events were postponed, sometimes several times.

But, really, there was-- it was an interesting dynamic that happened. I mean, it kind of-- you've got two different cohorts, right? You had those that wanted the big event-- they wanted to postpone it. They wanted to be safe. They put the date out-- and then those that just said, you know what, we want to make our vows. We want to go ahead and get it done.

And so you heard this whole analogy or this whole minimony concept, right-- a smaller event, very private, typically outdoors, very safe. And so we-- you know, it's interesting when you look at our assortments. We were able to really satisfy all of those needs. Because the one thing that seemed to really be true is that, you know, she wanted the dress. She wanted the dress for that photo op and those memories and those type of things.

Fast forward into fall '21, her mind changed. And now it was, I want the big event. I want my entire family there. I want them to be able to experience and enjoy it, right? So very planful. In fact, most of-- you look out through the venues in '22, the demands on the venues have been pretty large.

Now, with the new omicron variant that's out there, I think we're being cautious. We're monitoring-- as I said, we really haven't seen examples of events being canceled at this point or postponed. I think she's of the mindset that she wants to go forward. She probably will go back to some type of restrictions and those type of things, whether it's masking or whatever. But, right now, I mean, it's-- again, all plans are ahead, and everybody's monitoring it very, very closely.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Jim, how much of your business there at David's Bridal-- which, you know, is-- I mean, certainly, when I got married, which was quite a while ago, you went, and everything was done in person. How much of your business is now digital? And how does that work in terms of-- are people buying wedding dresses without trying the dress on?

JIM MARCUM: Yeah, we have-- David's is very different today. You know, we're truly omni, so we can serve you online through our e-commerce channel. Once you get that dress, we can do alterations in store, if need be. We have virtual stylist programs.

When COVID hit, we launched into virtual appointments, which were very, very successful, where you could have your entire bridal party for that matter involved in the selection of bridesmaids' dresses or the dress itself with family members and that type of thing. So we've really met her wherever she wanted to be.

But there is no question today, whether it's maids or bridal, she will buy online. And she will try that dress on. And we want to be there for her and those channels. And so everything that we've done through our digital strategies, from augmented reality-- so she could see those dresses on her cell phone right in a room and incredible levels of detail around the beading and the lacing and those type of things-- you know, there's been a lot of change with COVID as to how we've been there for her.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah. Stressful enough to plan a wedding without a pandemic. So our best to all those couples who are planning and finally ready to say "I do." Jim Marcum, David's Bridal CEO, thanks so much for being with us.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting