Preston-based Bridal Gallery Group closes five shops

The closure of a Preston-based chain of bridal shops has left more than 200 brides fearing they will not receive their wedding dresses.

Bridal Gallery Group Ltd closed its five stores with a loss of 30 jobs on Friday citing financial difficulties.

It had shops in Preston, Tarleton, Chester, Southport and Liverpool.

The family-run firm said the decision came with "great regret". Holly Brown, who paid a £1,000 deposit on a dress, said she was "disgusted".

Miss Brown, 25, from Liverpool, who is getting married on 26 July, ordered her dress at the Chester store.

No 'bridal insurance'

"I paid a £1,000 deposit on 8 September and got a receipt and a signed contract from them but they must have known this would happen when they took my money," she said.

"I paid in cash and I didn't have bridal insurance so I have lost £1,000.

"My dress will now cost me £3,000 rather than £2,000. Who can afford to lose £1,000 especially when they have a wedding to pay for?"

Miss Brown added: "Bridal Gallery said to contact the supplier Pronovias and they told me the dress had never been ordered."

Group Chairman Eric Stables confirmed the 25-year-old's dress was not ordered as she was due to be re-measured in January.

A statement issued by the company said the general downturn in sales and a 25% charge by credit card companies on all sales had left the firm "with very little choice" but to instruct insolvency practitioners.

He said: "We had a tremendous run last year but it has been very quiet this year.

"We have put everything into the last six years and we are very sorry but we are putting every effort into delivering dresses as intended."

Delivered dresses

He added customers who did not purchase bridal insurance or pay via credit cards would have to make claims to the liquidators.

Mr Stables said the company aimed to fulfil all current orders and had delivered more than 70 wedding dresses to customers since the shops closed.

Gill Burns, 55, from Tarleton, is one of the customers who has received her wedding dress, plus five bridesmaid dresses and accessories.

Miss Burns, who is getting married on 10 November, said: "I was contacted on Friday to say the shops were closing but I was told not to worry as everything was safe and sound and would be delivered the next day.

"They were true to their word by delivering absolutely everything."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites