The director of Dan Kerr Brides said the decision to close suddenly was ‘distressing and reluctant’.
In a handwritten letter delivered to the Lancashire Post, John Kerr said: “After 120 years of serving the people of Lancashire, and having looked after many thousands of brides and their families, the directors have concluded they can no longer compete against the internet and bridal warehouses.
“With a heavy heart, the directors have been forced to make the distressing and reluctant decision to place the company into administration.
“We would to stress, all customer dresses have been taken for safe keeping by the administrators Leonard Curtis (tel: 01772 646180) who will be in touch with customers directly, and quickly, to make arrangements with them.
“The directors are distraught and apologise for any problems that have been caused.”
The letter, which was verified by Leonard Curtis, was delivered by hand overnight after customers turned up at Dan Kerr’s stores in Church Street, Blackpool, and Preston, to find them closed yesterday.
One furious groom has threatened to sue over the debacle, while The Post has been flooded with calls from brides who said they have handed over thousands of pounds for their dream dresses - and now have nothing to show for it.
Corporate recovery firm Robson Kay, which has emptied the historic Blackpool firm’s Church Street shop of its stock, said brides-to-be will be able to collect their dresses from its warehouse in South Manchester over the coming days, with priority given to those whose weddings are soonest.
But those whose dresses and accessories had yet to arrive in stock, or had paid for alterations, have been told they will have to make a financial claim to administrators Leonard Curtis. Those who have hired suits have been dealt the same bitter blow, which will leave brides and grooms-to-be scrambling to make alternative arrangements.