Ann Taylor Stores Corporation is a retail organization that sales clothing and apparel to professional women. Many women across the country wear Ann Taylor like lawyers, politicians, and executives. However, this organization has survived many challenges. Through these challenges Ann Taylor is a retailer that has remained successful. Some challenges faced by this organization are: economic down turn, location expansion, products and merchandise. These are challenges that can dramatically affect the lifecycle of an organization. It is important for business strategist note the tasks faced by retail organizations. How organizations approach these challenges affect the outcome of decisions made. This provides a greater understanding of cause and effect related to economic recession, location expansion, and merchandizing in retail industries.
At the turn of the century America faced an economic recession. This means that customers were less likely to make purchases. The “retail sector retreated in 2007 and sales numbers declined in retail industries like Ann Taylor”, (Assenza, Eisneu, & Kuperman, 2013). Researchers in business management indicate that an economic recession does not mean an industry will fail. Management can increase profit and success if they make the right decision during the economic down turn. “Strategic management process is based on the belief that organizations should continually monitor internal and external events and trends so that timely changes can be made as needed”, (David, 2011). Ann Taylor Stores did this when the recession hit. In 2008 the president of Ann Taylor announced a plan to restructure the organization, seen as an effort to combat the downturn.
Ann Taylor president made merchandise changes to increase profit during the economic recession. Some changes were successful and others were not. This was how Ann Taylor responded to these challenges. The organization made changes to its target customer. The majority of Ann Taylor shoppers are aged 35 to 55. Ann Taylor president wanted to include women between the ages of 55 and 65, an increasingly marketable sector. Ann Taylor president also made additional merchandise changes to stimulate profits. They “expanded the beauty collection”, “expansion of the selection of petite sizes”, and “Collections and Celebrations line”, (Assenza, Eisneu & Kuperman, 2013). These changes and adaptations to merchandise were done to increase revenues. Researchers indicate that altering store merchandise can have positive effects. They say, “new product introductions maybe especially effective during a recession”, (Pearce & Michael, 2006). Scholars say this can attract new customers and offset loss of existing customers. Thus, changing and altering merchandise can be effective.
Ann Taylor made additional changes during the recession. The organization spent money, time and resources in location expansion. Ann Taylor moved stores to better locations, remodel older locations, and closex stores that did not meet company standards. Scholars indicate this is good. “In these short lifecycle markets, being able to spot trends quickly and to translate them into products in the shop in the shortest possible time has become a prerequisite for success”, (Christopher, Lowson, & Peck, 2004). Ann Taylor made various types of investments in store locations. In addition to remodeling, they also expanded into larger stores to change store design. It was observed when Ann Taylor moved to new locations with profitable areas. Other researchers see the positive effect of expansion and investments. Scholars state that making wise investments during a recession can be cost effective and “less expensive”, (Pearce & Michael, 2006).
Practicing strategic management is important to retailers. It helps executives make the right decisions during economic recession. The president of Ann Taylor has done this. She has “the ability to change the nature of her role”, (Phelps, Adams, & Bessant, 2007). When location expansion had negative results Ann Taylor changed direction by pushing back on capital spending, (Assenza, Eisneu, & Kuperman, 2013). The organization has maintained its professional appeal to working women. They have not changed their brand against challenges and obstacles. To fulfill the need for quality professional classic wear, Ann Taylor supports community efforts and outreach. They work to save the environment by making do nations to Goodwill. Ann Taylor also donates fixtures and display items to help reduce waste. With separate sectors, women that like Ann Taylor or unaffordable, customers can shop at LOFT or Ann Taylor Factory.
Ann Taylor has faced economic challenges, expansion challenges, and merchandise/product challenges. Still the organization has survived the economic recession. These changes are required for business success. A lesson is learned from reviewing this case study. Retailers face the serious challenge to meet the style demands of women. Trends change and style has also changed. Ann Taylor is a reliable force in retail clothing. The president of Ann Taylor made changes that can help the organization increase sales and profit margins. She made adaptations that make her a strategic manager in the retail industry. This is important when working in the fashion retail industry that has “an element of style that is likely to be short lived”, (Christopher, Lowson, & Peck, 2004).
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Christopher, M., Lowson, B., & Peck, H. (2004). Fashion logistics and quick response. In J. Fernie & L. Sparks (Eds.), Logistics and retail management: insight into current practice and trends from leading experts. Retrieved from http://lib.thanglong.edu.vn/uploads/files/1322538297.pdf
David, F. (2011). Strategic management concepts and cases. New York, NY: Printice Hall. Retrieved from http://buduson.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/strategic-management.pdf
Pearce, J., & Michael, S. (2006). Strategies to prevent economic recession from causing business failure. Business Horizons, 49(1), 201-209. Retrieved from http://www.hajarian.com/esterategic/tarjomeh/2-90/khodsetan.pdf
Phelps, R., Adams, R., & Bessant, J. (2007). Life cycles of growing organizations: a review with implications for knowledge and learning. International Journal of Management Review, 9(1), 1-30. Retrieved from http://johnbessant.net/uploads/books/26.pdf