Ascena acquires Ann Taylor
Ann Inc. has been bought.
The parent company of famed brand Ann Taylor has been acquired by Ascena Retail Group, putting an end to months of speculation about its future.
The deal also sees the group taking on the brand Loft, with the merger deal valuing the company at around $2 billion.
It's thought things will be finalised later this year, with Ann Inc. investors said to own around 16 per cent of Ascena.
"The transaction will make us part of a larger organisation with a diversified portfolio of brands focused on the women's apparel market, a strong operating platform and a powerful financial base," Kay Krill, president and CEO of Ann Inc, explained in a statement. "[The company will] take steps to better strategically and operationally position our brands for the dynamics that are redefining the landscape of the women's specialty retailing industry."
Things haven't been easy for Ann Taylor over the last few years due to the increased amount of competition in the women's fashion area. However, things picked up at the end of last year with an increase in sales noted.
Traditionally the company was known for creating workwear for ladies, but of late that division has been snapped up by stores such as H&M. On top of that, there has been an increase in demand for more relaxed styles which Ann Taylor hasn't always offered.
The company has made some strives to update its image, such as teaming up with Kate Hudson. The actress was announced as the firm's face in 2012 and she also created some little black dresses for it.
“Sometimes when you work with big brands, you feel they have a very specific formula and I think Ann Taylor goes further with it… Ann Taylor isn’t afraid of a little sexiness. I think it’s about a working woman who can own her own sensuality," she enthused at the time.