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Samora

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9 casual fashion. Analysts had long worried that LOFT stores would cannibalize sales “as traditional Ann Taylor shoppers sought more relaxed, lower-priced merchandise, particularly during the recession.” Ann Taylor would be 59 years old in 2013 and needed to make sure it wouldn’t become a victim of a midlife crisis.3 Kay Krill, ANN’s CEO, had been reflecting on these issues for some time. Krill had been appointed president of Ann Taylor Stores Corporation (ANN) in late 2004, and she succeeded to president/CEO in late 2005 when J. Patrick Spainhour retired after eight years as CEO. Even back then, there was concern among commentators and customers that the Ann Taylor look was getting “stodgy,” and the question was how to “reestablish Ann Taylor as the preeminent brand for beautiful, elegant, and sophisticated occasion dressing.”4 Krill’s challenge was based on the ANN legacy as a women’s specialty clothing retailer. Since 1954, Ann Taylor had been the wardrobe source for busy, socially upscale women, and the classic basic black dress and woman’s power suit with pearls were Ann Taylor staples. The Ann Taylor client base consisted of fashion-conscious women from age 25 to 55. The overall Ann Taylor concept was designed to appeal to professional women who had limited time to shop and who were attracted to Ann Taylor stores by their total wardrobing strategy, personalized client service, efficient store layouts, and continual flow of new merchandise. ANN had two branded divisions focused on different segments of this customer base: • Ann Taylor (AT), the company’s original brand, provided sophisticated, versatile, and high-quality updated classics. • Ann Taylor LOFT (LOFT) was a newer brand concept that appealed to women who had a more relaxed lifestyle and work environment and who appreciated the more casual LOFT style and compelling value. Certain…...

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