The administrators-in-waiting of a wedding company which collapsed shortly before Christmas have issued a statement to concerned couples who fear for their deposits.
At the end of December, Formal Affair Weddings Limited shut all of its nine branches with immediate effect, including its shop on Holywell Street in Chesterfield.
A total of 39 people have been made redundant.
The Tamworth-based firm, which provided wedding dresses and suits, is expected to formally enter administration shortly.
The company, which was previously bought out of administration in 2014, has struggled recently due to customers’ changing buying habits.
A number of Formal Affair customers have contacted the Derbyshire Times to say they put down deposits for wedding dresses and suits – and now fear for their money amid the firm’s collapse.
Many of the customers gave the company several hundreds of pounds.
Midlands-based Smith Cooper is expected to be appointed administrators of the firm.
We contacted Smith Cooper to find out what will happen with customers’ deposits and if they will get their money back.
A spokesman said: “As we have not yet officially been appointed administrators, we are not able to comment further at this time.
“I appreciate it’s a very stressful time for the brides and grooms-to-be and as such will ensure you receive any additional information as soon as it is available.”
The Derbyshire Times understands that affected customers have recived the following statement from Smith Cooper: “Please note that the company is not currently in administration and Smith Cooper are only acting in an advisory capacity.
“I note that you have paid or part paid for wedding dresses and/or suits and you are obviously quite concerned with receiving these items or a refund considering the company’s current financial position.
“While we will do our utmost to ascertain the position with regards to your specific order, there will be circumstances where the company will be unable to fulfil your order and you will have an unsecured claim in the proposed administration. The current dividend prospects are unknown.
“However, please note that if you have paid by credit card you may be able to reclaim any monies you have paid from the credit card provider. Furthermore, should you have entered into any wedding insurance you may be able to claim under this insurance.
“I appreciate the poor timing of the situation and I ask that you bear with us while we ascertain the company’s current financial and stock position.”
Richard Cook, director of Formal Affair Weddings Limited, said: “Despite working so hard to restructure and support the business over the last couple of years to make it competitive in light of changing consumer purchasing habits, it is with deep regret that I have had to make the unavoidable decision of closing all stores and making the staff redundant.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff members for their great service over the years as well as all of our brides and grooms for their valued custom.”
Dean Nelson, head of business recovery and insolvency at Smith Cooper, added: “The management of Formal Affair Weddings Limited have continuously attempted to reduce costs and restructure the business in light of current fashion and purchasing trends – but this has proven challenging with the formal and wedding attire market changing considerably over the last couple of years.
“We are currently in the process of assisting the company repatriate its stock to the head office with a view to a closing down sale being instigated in the New Year.
“Once appointed administrators, we will be in contact with creditors regarding the financial position of the company and dividend prospects.”
• All queries should be directed to Megan Campbell or Kelly Whittington at Smith Cooper on 01332 32021. Alternatively, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Dann and Luke Read have been left devastated following the collapse of Formal Affair Weddings Limited.
The couple, of Swaddale Avenue, Chesterfield, are due to tie the knot in June and paid £641 for eight suits from the town’s store.
Laura, 26, said: “We can’t believe what’s happened.
“It’s devastating news.
“We’ve paid so much money and now we don’t know what’s going to happen with it all.
“We don’t get married until the summer but this is putting a dampner on things at the moment.
“It sounds like a lot of people are affected and want answers.”
Commenting on our Facebook page, Diana Thompson said: “What a terrible Christmas for the employees and the people who’ve put down deposits for outfits.”
Lauren Amy Crookston said: “We were due to hire six suits from them for our wedding in June. We paid £400+ for them. Obviously we won’t be getting those and our money back then.”
Kayleigh Williamson said: “I think it’s going to be a case of people cutting their losses and going elsewhere.”
Karen Hancock said: “I feel sorry for folk who have paid. It’s an expensive job.”
Betty Blackman said: “So sad. What a shock.”