Ann Taylor was meant to provide the needs of real women with the attire for the ever-changing roles they juggle in their everyday lifestyles. In 2013, Ann Taylor is represented by two of the leading women’s specialty brands in North America. Ann Taylor has expanded into several other brands such as LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory and Ann Taylor Factory Outlet stores. After establishing a firm foundation for the company, Ann Taylor (ANN) went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. Four years later, Ann Taylor launched an extension branch named Ann Taylor LOFT targeted at a younger, more relaxed audience of professional women. LOFT was a newer concept geared towards a more casual lifestyle, with lower-priced pieces while still maintaining the professional appeal praised by ANN. Using a focus differentiation strategy, ANN concentrates on delivering its uniquely tailored product to a busy, yet fashionable group of women.
As the LOFT division grew popular, it eventually outperformed the original Ann Taylor . By 2009, the extension LOFT had surpassed the original Ann Taylor’s net sales by nearly $400 million. However, the association of the two stores presented many challenges in branding, affecting mostly the original Ann Taylor image and value. In 2005, under the leadership of CEO Kay Krill, ANN was challenged with the rebuilding of the Ann Taylor’s brand while maintaining the image and market share of LOFT. Both brands experienced a variety of renovations, additions and expansions in an attempt to redefine the original Ann Taylor brand entirely.
Competition for the Ann Taylor Stores includes Liz Claiborne, Donna Karan, Talbots, Chico’s, The Gap, Nordstrom, Limited Brands, and New York & Company Inc. One of Ann Taylor’s strengths is brand equity. A strong brand name has a major advantage over a weak brand name because the strong brand name can command a higher price. To keep and strengthen its brand equity, Ann Taylor utilizes effective marketing and offers top-tier clientele services. Another strength it has is a good product mix that is complementary by design. Ann Taylor offers a total wardrobe strategy to meet the needs of modern women's busy lifestyle by providing a full range of coordinated career, casual and special occasion offerings in one location. Another strength of the Ann Taylor brand is the strong ethical commitment it has to women and the needs of women. Ann Inc. is active in the fight against breast cancer through their teaming up with the Breast Cancer Research foundation. This is a way of showing commitment to women through their partnership with women’s health and power organizations. Ann Inc. are committed partners with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and dedicated to making a difference in the fight against Breast Cancer. During Breast Cancer Awareness season, the company offers the Ann Taylor Cares and LOFT Cares Cards in all of the stores, enabling clients to join the fight against breast cancer. Ninety percent of the purchase price of every card sold is donated to BCRF to fund research. Every year, the Ann Taylor and LOFT brands offer unique products and opportunities to engage associates and enable clients to support the cause. Through this partnership, Ann Taylor clients and associates have donated $13.4 million since 2005. The Company’s annual contribution fully funds 13 BCRF researcher grants that support groundbreaking studies across the U.S. and in Canada. Another huge internal