Ann Taylor: Survival in Specialty Retail
Essay Preview: Ann Taylor: Survival in Specialty Retail
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CASE 2 PREPARATION : ANN TAYLORIntroductionANN is a specialty retailer for fashionable women’s clothing, serving clients across the United States, Puerto Rico and, since October, also in Canada. Over the Companys fifty year heritage it has become a well-known resource for quality suits, separates, dresses, shoes and accessories with a feminine, polished approach to updated classic style. The Company meets the needs of modern womens busy lifestyles by providing a full range of career, casual and occasion offerings in one location. ANN plans collections with versatile styles that coordinate not only from head-to-toe but also from season-to-season, enabling the client to build a full wardrobe suitable to her needs from the company’s collections.The Ann Taylor and LOFT brands are marketed in 947 stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada through four channels, Ann Taylor stores, LOFT stores, Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet, and also available online at www.anntaylor.com and www.anntaylorloft.com.Ann Taylor, through 272 store locations and online, competes in the “better” priced category, and caters to the successful, relatively affluent career woman, who needs appropriate, fashion conscious attire for her professional life and special events, and prefers stylish, coordinated looks for her leisure activities.LOFT (established in 1996), through 501 store locations and online, competes in the “upper moderate” priced category. LOFT collections are designed for the value conscious women with a more relaxed lifestyle both at work and at home.Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet stores, with 169 store locations, are shopping destinations in their own right, with clothing merchandise specifically.Background:1954, Ann Taylor was founded by Robert Liebeskind as a stand-alone clothing store in New Haven, CT. Ann Taylor was never a real person.- 1991, public on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ANN.
– 1994, a fragrance line and shoe stores added more into mail catalog business.- 1995, mail order catalog ended. Ann Taylor LOFT, was launched with and the lower-priced apparel concept.- 1996, losses in fiscal. CEO Kasaks left the company due to fashion misstep – cropped T-shirts didn’t fit in with the workplace attire.- 1997, new ANN CEO Patrick Spainhour shelved the fragrance line, and closed the shoe stores.- 1998, LOFT stores moved to a third division – Ann Taylor Factory (Factory) that carried clothes from the Ann Taylor (AT) line.- 1999, new Executive Vice President of the LOFT division, Kay Krill.- 2000, Ann Taylor attempted a cosmetic line but discontinued in 2001. Also lauched a online store at www.anntaylor.com but cut back in late 2001 due to cash flow goals not met.- 2001, Kay Krill was a new President positions for both Ann Taylor (AT) and Ann Taylor LOFT divisions.- 2004, Kay Krill became president of the entire ANN corporation, then bringing both Ann Taylor and LOFT under her control.- February 2005, LOFT had reached $1 billion dollars in sales.- June 2005, ANN completed a move to new headquarters in Times Square Tower in New York City.- Fall of 2005, Chairman and CEO J. Patrick Spainhour retired and President Kay Krill was elevated to the CEO position with her goals as “improving profitability while enhancing both brands”, “restoring performance at the Ann Taylor division and restoring the momentum at LOFT”.- 2006, the outlook for fiscal was cautiously positive, continued plans for expansion and related capital expenditure. The stock responded with new highs, moving to a peak of over $40 in late 2006.- 2008, challenges in the macroeconomic climate prompted Krill to announce a restructuring plan.SWOT Analysis :Strengths:- Good fame (regularly appeared in the Women’s Wear Daily “Top 10” list of firms selling dresses, suits and eveningwear and the “Top 20” list of publicly traded women’s specialty retailers)- Two brands- Diversified distribution channels.Weaknesses:- High management turnover.- Limited capacity (to supply 1050 stores)- ROI and Operating margins are negative- Supply chains (High stock level, lack of inventory turnover).Opportunities:- Overseas markets.- Reduce operation cost.- Syncing the demand between online channels and retails store.- Room to differentiate between Ann Tayler and LOFT.