ANN: a name favored by royalty and commoners, as well as a
company recognized for its aspirational
luxury and feminine wear-to-work style. The national retailer
specializes in women's clothing, shoes,
and accessories designed and sold
exclusively under its Ann Taylor and LOFT monikers. The
Ann Taylor brand targets fashion-conscious career
women through about 380 namesake stores (about 100 of
which are "Factory" outlets),
while the LOFT brand offers moderate-to-more priced
casual apparel through some 575 stores (75 of which are outlets).
ANN also moves its merchandise through its fast-growing
online business for both brands. ANN has favored its
own name since changing from AnnTaylor Stores Corporation in
The retailer's operations embrace a multichannel strategy, which
spurred the retailer to adopt a new moniker. ANN INC. is
intended to reflect the company's emphasis on its
outlet and online operations as it caps off an aggressive
restructuring of its retail store network.
Ann Taylor stores are on average 5,300 sq. ft.; LOFT stores are
about 5,900 sq. ft.; and the factory stores are around 7,300 sq.
ft. About 75% of Ann Taylor stores are located in shopping malls
and upscale retail centers. One of the company's flagship
stores is located in Chicago, and two in New York City.
The fast-growing LOFT format has quickly overtaken its more mature
sister chain as American women adopt a more casual style of
Geographically, ANN has a retail presence in 46 US states, the
District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It looks establish
itself in Canada in late 2012, or later, by first adding
international shipping capabilities to its e-commerce site.
Reversing two years of declining revenues and a loss in
2009, brought on by the economic downturn, company's
merchandise and its profits have picked back up since 2011.
Grabbing notice, its e-commerce and outlet store channels have
fueled momentum. ANN's online stores accounted for more than 11% of
sales in 2012 vs. 9% in 2011; outlet/factory stores 21% in 2012 vs.
17% in 2011.
In fiscal 2012 (ends January) and 2011 ANN's total sales
rose more than 8% and 10%, respectively, over the prior
year. The LOFT brand, which continued to outperform Ann
Taylor, accounted for roughly 60% of sales. Earnings bounced
up 18% in 2012 over 2011. The company attributes the launch of its
new e-commerce site as fundamental to its rebound and future
coupled with its improved real estate strategy and more productive
Strategically, ANN renewed its focus on store growth in 2011
and opened 76 stores, more than half of which were a small
format. It plans to continue to the smaller format as it opens
about 65 stores, as well as enters Canada, in 2012. By contrast,
the company opened 14 new LOFT stores in 2011 and looks
to open about 25 LOFT stores in 2012. Using a larger format, the
Ann Taylor Factory stores and LOFT Outlets gained seven and 38
stores, respectively, in 2011. Two new Factory stores and 20 LOFT
outlets are planned in 2012. All told, approximately 55% of ANN's
store are either new, or have been expanded, remodeled, or
refurbished within the last five years.