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 2011.
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 dress.
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 store formats.
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. – less