Ann Taylor: Survival in Speciality Retail
1. What industry is Ann in?
Ann Taylor is a specialty retail clothing store for ladies only. The quality of Ann Taylor is similar to that of Talbots, Abercrombie & Fitch, or Banana Republic. Keep in mind Ann Taylor was never a person like Elizabeth Taylor. Ann Taylor is only the brand identity.
2. Using Porter’s five forces model, identify the key issues in the competitive environment that affect ANN and its rivals. Identify and evaluate the competitive forces that shape the industry structure. (pg 99 4.8)
Ann Taylor uses Brand Identity as the top determinant of entry, the brand itself resembles prestige, wealth, and more of a high society look. Ann Taylor also developed Ann Taylor LOFT – a more relaxed appeal for women who are still looking for that name brand recognition with the relaxed lifestyle. In Porter’s Determinants of Rivalry, ANN is consistently facing the industry growth. New brands such as Hollister are grabbing the eyes of the younger generation and appealing to their senses through marketing tools. Ann Taylor, established in 1954 has held a higher value on supplies to provide consumers with the high quality clothing they are well known for. However the was a glitch in the 90’s where executives felt they could cut cost on the quality fabrics used in manufacturing the clothing line. This dropped the profits for ANN and the business had to re-assess and re-establish the higher quality line that they had become known for. Substituting for lesser cost supplies was not in the cards for Ann Taylor. However a “substitute” in the clothing line has shown profitable. As briefly mentioned above, ANN led way to Ann Taylor- LOFT. LOFT was created to appeal to a younger crowd, the product cost was less, but the brand identity of ANN was still there, creating the demand for the product. ANN simple used a different focus strategy for marketing LOFT, producing a new wave of buyers.