Ticker Talk: Ann Inc. (ANN)

6:38 PM

Photo by Think Retail

Until recently, I had never set foot in Ann Taylor. It was one of my former coworkers favorite stores and I went in with her one day and was pleasantly surprised. I suppose I had written it off as work wear that probably wouldn't fit me. And in part that's true, their petites are still a bit big for me, and there is a lot of work wear but there are some great accessories and Loft has some really great casual pieces (As well as a 00P that fits me well).

Ann Taylor made its debut on the NYSE in 1991, with sister store Loft opening later in 1996. ANN had a shaky start in the market; what started out as a fairly successful IPO quickly turned sour when the stock lost nearly half its value within just a few months. This was spurred when a majority of the management team quietly exited the company causing unease and speculation to run wild among the investment community.

Issues with quality plagued this retailer early on; the core AT customer balked at fabrics like rayon and polyester, and those issues paired with a somewhat disastrous IPO did the company a lot of harm. Since then the company had been steadily recovering-- until about 2006. Shares were at their peak at $38 per share but the slowing economy did a number on it and by the market crash of 2008, shares were trading at $5 per share. 

But, shares are up, with today closing out at $29.08. ANN also has a celebrated green initiative and has cut it's carbon footprint by 20% (double their initial goal, and more than two years ahead of schedule). Companies that have strong initiatives like these tend to succeed in the market. I think that ANN is definitely on the upward trajectory and is a decent buy if you plan to hold it for a few years.

Sources: Motley Fool, Bloomberg, Newsweek, Funding Universe, Google Finance, Value Line

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