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Sarah Halzack

Put Ann Taylor's Parent on Retail Death Watch, Too

It has more stores than Gap, but less than half the revenue, and its problems are mounting.
Photographer: Andrew Burton

For reasons that aren't quite explicable, Ascena Retail Group Inc. tends to be left out of discussions about trouble in the specialty apparel business.

Perhaps it's because the publicly traded company -- whose chains include Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, among others -- doesn't fit tidily into a narrative about leveraged buyouts in retail going sour. (That was a theme in the bankruptcies of True Religion Apparel Inc., rue21 Inc., and Payless ShoeSource Inc., and it has contributed to troubles at J. Crew Group.)