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David's Bridal to file for bankruptcy, but says dress orders, appointments not affected

David's Bridal announced its plans to voluntarily file for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.

David's Bridal will file for bankruptcy, the nation's leading wedding retailer said in a statement on Thursday. But it reassured customers that dress orders and bridal appointments would not be affected.

David's Bridal, whose tight grip on the wedding business has loosened in recent years amid digital competition and declining marriage rates, announced its plans to voluntarily file for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. It said it expects to file "in the near future."

The plan would allow the company to continue operating its more than 300 stores and website without disruption.

"This agreement allows us to guarantee no change in the service level our customers expect from us," CEO Scott Key said in a video statement. "All orders and alterations will be delivered as promised."

In October, David's Bridal failed to make a key loan payment, sparking concerns that the company would soon file for bankruptcy.

David’s Bridal still sells about one in three U.S. wedding dresses through its more than 300 stores and website, with estimated annual retail revenue of $791 million, according to market research firm IBISWorld.

But it has been left at the altar by brides who are increasingly buying gowns online, choosing alternatives, waiting longer to get married or not getting married at all. Online sales at sites like Floravere, Anomalie and BHLDN have intensified competition.

The average price paid for a wedding dress fell 3.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to wedding site TheKnot.com.

The number of new marriages per 1,000 Americans was 6.9 in 2016, down from 8.2 in 2000, according to the U.S. government.

"As brides are looking to either pare back their wedding expenses or spend less on gowns, that has led to a decline in spending on wedding dresses or destination weddings and having smaller weddings," said Mathew Christy, an S&P Global Ratings analyst who tracks the retailer, in an interview with USA Today.

Contributing: Nathan Bomey, USA Today