Ann Taylor will close 46 stores as fewer women are buying “work-friendly clothing.” [Reuters]

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  1. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    It’s not that women aren’t buying “work-friendly” (what the hell kind of made-up nonsense word is that?) clothing. It’s that workplaces are no longer requiring Ann-Taylor-friendly work attire.

  2. The Porkchop Express says:

    Oh the women are buying it, just cheaper.

    or they’re work has a different definition of “work friendly”

  3. redskull says:

    Or women (and men as well) no longer have jobs to go to.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @speedwell: Really? It’s not like Ann Taylor carries nothing but suit jackets and pinstripe pants. Many work environments are going business casual, and Ann Taylor and their LOFT spinoff has always catered to work attire and business casual attire.

    I’m attributing the closings to their prices – Ann Taylor is ridiculously expensive when it comes to the average working woman. $70 for a dress shirt? $90 for a skirt? Really? The only times I ever go into Ann Taylor LOFT (I don’t go into Ann Taylor anymore) is when they have really good sales and clearances, and then I can get a skirt for $25 rather than $70.

    When women have to cut back, places such as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor are less affordable than places such as New York & Company, which regularly have $20 dress shirts.

  5. Snakeophelia says:

    If they close the store near me, I will die. Half my work clothing comes from there. They are one of the few retailers yet with clothing that reliably fits short and/or curvy women and offers tailored workwear that doesn’t cost a fortune.

    And they sell a lot of more casual things, including resort-wear. So if people are spending less money on vacations, they’re probably spending less money on vacation wardrobes, too.

  6. Boulderite says:

    At the Ann Taylor Loft store near me they never have any sizes above 14. I’ve gone in there numerous times with a friend of mine who likes to look at and try on clothes before she buys them online (since she can use coupon codes and many times get a better deal online) but they never have her size, online they do, but the store rarely does.

    When I am not with my friend I don’t shop there. I don’t have a specific reason for it, I just don’t. There clothing has changed over the last 10 years, going from more professional and classy styles to being more trendy. Maybe this is why they are having issues.

    • TexasBelle says:

      @Boulderite: Ditto on Ann Taylor (LOFT only, for me thanks) being cheaper online. Also, the B&M stores near me never have as good a selection as the Web site. I can only wear one of their pant lines (Julie), which is the one the stores near me don’t seem to see fit to stock. That could be one reason they’re having trouble: refusal to notice that most women’s hips are bigger than their waists.

      • floraposte says:

        @TexasBelle: Yeah, as a petite I end up shopping online for selection even when there’s a B&M store near me (which there is for Loft, but not regular Ann Taylor), but I think that’s just the nature of store space vs. warehouse space. And there are enough across-the-board sales or considerable discount coupons that it’s pretty easy to avoid paying full price even online. I actually find them a useful tool in the clothing arsenal with that approach, but that probably means a couple of garments a year, so that’s not likely to keep ‘em afloat if they’re going down.

  7. nakedscience says:

    They have great stuff but it’s expensive.

    I work in a pretty casual place, but we still have a “work casual” policy. Slacks and nice shirts are fine. I do live in Arizona, though, so comfort tends to take priority when it reaches 120+

  8. nakedscience says:

    And I wonder…how are The Gap and Old Navy doing? I bet well. Target clothing, too.

    • floraposte says:

      @nakedscience: Same-store sales fell 12% for Gap, 13% for Old Navy, and 16% for Banana Republic (also part of that company).

    • bohemian says:

      @nakedscience: Eghad. I tried to buy clothes at Target four times since the first of the year. All they seem to be carrying are some very odd uber trendy things. If you like shirts made out of t-shirt material so cheap it is already becoming misshapen or things made to look ratty on purpose then Target is your place. They quit carrying almost all of the basics they used to. Ironically the womens clothing department is now jammed full of clearance racks of clothing that not only doesn’t go with anything in the store, it doesn’t go with anything else you might have at home.

  9. Wombatish says:

    $60 for a plain white not-even-really-business-appropriate short-sleeved blouse?

    Maybe -that’s- what women are buying less of.

    Honestly… most clothing is made out of relatively the same kinds of materials, using relatively the same kinds of techniques (yes, there is some accounting for quality, but not hundreds of dollars worth).

    If you want to pay for LV or Channel or some other designer, I will laugh at you, but go ahead.

    Last time I checked though, Ann Taylor wasn’t a name worth paying for.

    It should be over-priced designer crap, and then everything else.

    This in-between “Oooh, I’m rich but not quite rich enough” stuff is just dumb. How do you think the guy in Armani can afford it? Just look around next time you’re at Wal-mart, and notice how many Jags and such are in the parking lot.

  10. eklass says:

    @nakedscience

    not sure if you’ve heard, but Gap is on the outs. i’m not sure if this holds true for the last 6 months or so, but Gap stores have still been closing lately

    • TexasBelle says:

      @eklass: Gap stuff is basically Walmart stuff with a higher price tag. Not too difficult to figure out where Gap’s customer base went to.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    In other news, sales of women’s clothing appropriate for strip joints and street walking hit record highs.

  12. synergy says:

    I know what they meant, but my first thought was “what, more women are buying prostitution-friendly wear?”

    Yeah I know. But it’s the oldest profession and it pays more than many jobs are willing to pay women. I don’t condone it. Don’t flame me. :D

  13. HarcourtArmstrong says:

    I just miss the TV they used to have in Lighthouse Place Mall in Michigan City, IN. “Honey, you go shop, and I’ll be in Ann Taylor watching the game.” Pure genius!