Ann Taylor is ready to play


Ann Taylor pushes clothes with confidence -- sleek, affordable basics for career women -- but its customers seem to have lost some confidence in them. The company posted a 22.5% sales decline today -- its fourth consecutive quarter loss.

The bleeding isn't much of a surprise. In fact, it's one of the easier recession setback stories to follow.

Sales at a national chain specializing in board-meeting blazers and client-lunch frocks should plummet when unemployment rises. Its female fans who have lost their jobs now have two wardrobe divisions: sweatpants, and dressy sweatpants (I speak from experience).

Originally published