Ann Taylor to launch credit card program

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Ann Taylor Stores Corp. has signed a multi-year agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corp. to launch a co-branded credit card program. Alliance was already providing private label credit card services to the clothing chain and will continue to do so.

The new co-brand Ann Taylor MasterCard will host a points-based cardholder rewards program, implemented by Alliance. Alliance will also be providing direct mail and e-mail marketing for the card, account acquisition and activation, customer service, card issuance and other services. Neither Alliance nor Ann Taylor could be reached for comment as of press time.

The introduction of a branded credit card and rewards system signals a push on Ann Taylor's part to boost consumer loyalty and increase basket size with each shopping trip. Ann Taylor Stores reported net sales of $592.3 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008, down from $614.5 million for the same period the year before. Year-to-year comparable store sales for the quarter dropped 10.8%.

Ann Taylor remains committed to its growth plans: when its second quarter results came out, the company held firm to its plan to open 66 new stores in the fiscal year. More than 900 stores in 46 states and two online stores: and operate under the Ann Taylor company aegis.

The retailer also named a new president for the Ann Taylor Stores, Christine M. Beauchamp, in August of this year.

“This transition of leadership at our heritage brand is taking place at an exciting time of evolution for Ann Taylor,” Kay Krill, president and CEO of the company noted in a statement.



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