Filene’s Basement Going Out of Business

Filene’s Basement, home of the famous “running of the brides” wedding dress sale, is going out of business. Discount clothing retailer Syms Corp., which owns Filene’s Basement, filed for bankruptcy this morning. Both chains are expected to be completely closed by the end of January.

Chief Executive Marcy Syms in a statement:

“This has been a challenging time for Syms and Filene`s Basement. We have been faced with increased competition from large department stores that now offer the same brands as our stores at similar discounts.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that there are 25 Syms and 21 Filene`s Basement stores in the United States. The two stores employ about 2,500 people.

Syms reported a loss last year of $50.3 million on sales of $445.1 million. Gary Binkoski, the interim chief financial officer of Syms, said that the company has struggled to find strategic alternatives to compete against bigger department stores. While they worked on new strategies, nervous suppliers started to tighten credit terms.

Prices at Syms and Filene`s have always been competitive, but it was the “Running of the Brides” event that truly made Filene`s Basement famous. Every year the clothing store would have a one-day-only bridal event. Brides to be, or women thinking that they might someday be a bride-to-be, flocked to the store for the deep discounts.

The “Running of the Brides” gets so crazy that Filene`s Basement offers these tips to potential buyers.

  1. Recruit your team and assign jobs.
  2. Create team unity by wearing something matching… This will also help you find each other in the crowd.
  3. Wear a sports bra or swim suit so you can change in and out of gowns anywhere in the store.

Here’s a video about “The Running of the Brides” from the New York Post.

Syms was founded in 1958 by Sy Syms and became famous for their tagline “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Filene`s Basement has been around even longer. The famous clothing store can be traced back to 1909 when Edward Filene started selling extra goods from the family department store out of his basement. Syms bought Filene’s Basement out of bankruptcy in 2009.

Did you ever by a suit or dress from Filene`s Basement? Have you ever been to the “Running of the Brides.”